Tuesday, 15 May 2018

REVIEW - THE BIG ALPHA IN TOWN BY EVE LANGLAIS, MILLY TAIDEN & KATE BAXTER

Title: The Big Alpha In Town
Authors: Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden & Kate Baxter
Genre: Romance, Anthology
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Release Date: 15th May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today's hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!
Bearing His Name
Meeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.
Owned by the Lion
Keir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.
No Need Fur Love
Moving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…
Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head. …

PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
Once again I was asked if I would be interested in reading and giving my honest review of this trilogy of steamy shifter tales by the publisher. After reading Thanks Fur Last Night trilogy and surprising myself by really quite enjoying it I decided this was a book I actually wanted to read. I was aware some of the content was steamy and maybe a little explicit but I feel there is enough plot and story line that I can still enjoy reading.

The cover of this book fits very well with the previous book I read Thanks Fur Last Night with the icy blue colour and the bear on the left side. There is also the couple on the cover in a slightly different position to the couple on Thanks Fur Last night. After reading Thanks Fur Last Night i would probably picked this book up irregardless of the cover to learn more about it but once again I find the cover attractive. It certainly makes you want to ask questions about the couple on it as well as the bear. The cover could represent a couple of different scenes in the different tales. Would the cover make me pick it up from a book shelf? Yes definitely! 

The genres I have seen listed for this book are Anthology and Romance which certainly fit. I would also add shapeshifter, and paranormal to that list too.

So this book is made up of three separate tales, Bearing His Name by Eve Langlais, Owned By The Lion by Milly Taiden and No Need Fur Love by Kate Baxter.

Bearing His Name
I really enjoyed reading this story. The central characters are Jade and Ark and I adored both of them. Ark receives what can only be described as a blackmail note accusing him of making someone pregnant! Ark approaches his cousin Stavros who is not only a bear shifter but also works for the Police too. Stavros reveals to Ark that he is not the first to approach him with a blackmail letter. It is Jade Cadeux that has sent the letters because it is her sister Ruby who is pregnant. When Ark knocks on her door and she opens it he instantly knows she is his mate! Though he knows better than to try to tell Jade that until they figure out who is the father of Ruby's baby. 
I really enjoyed reading this tale by Eve Langlais, I liked how she played on the bear shifter and his love of honey and how he needed "honey" or rather had to sweet talk Jade quite a lot! Ark really has his work cut out to get Jade to believe him that he is not the father of her sisters baby. Ark has to use all his powers of persuasion because Jade's father abandoned her when she was younger so she is suspicious of any man.
I thought the cliff hanger at the end about Stavros finding a green eyed female by the bins was brilliant. I hope Eve Langlais tells his story of perhaps finding his mate soon. I am definitely interested in reading about more the family of Ark & Stavros.

Owned by the Lion
I adored this story, it is set around some of the same characters that are in Bought By The Bear that is featured in the Thanks Fur Last Night anthology. This time the lucky bear that finds his mate is Xander's best friend and work colleague Keir. Of course things don't go straight forward for him. Keir has a reputation for dating lots of different women and he thoroughly enjoys his lifestyle. His father wants him to take over the family business the bank and settle down, though Keir is reluctant to settle down with anyone he knows that he will have to take over the family business sooner or later. We meet more female characters this time and they enjoy playing match maker with Keir and Ally. In fact Xander and the others find it amusing that the one woman that Keir wants isn't falling at his feet as other women do. 
I really loved this story and totally adored the fact I got to catch up with Xander and Josie as well as meeting new characters too. I definitely want to read more, both by this author and set in this world with its great characters. My favourite character in this tale had to Keir, he was so perplexed when Ally didn't just fall for his charms and into his arms straight away like most women usually did!

No Need Fur Love
I did enjoy this tale but I have to admit it took me a little longer to feel drawn into it. Once the story got going I didn't want to put it down! Again this tale takes place within the same setting as The Alpha And I was. (from Thanks Fur Last Night)
The two main characters that are mates in this story are Owen a hot werewolf shifter and Mia a beautiful, mysterious, conniving wood nymph. Mia's father wants to choose her a mate and for her to get pregnant to produce an heir! Mia doesn't want an arranged match so she comes up with the idea to go out and get pregnant, thinking that if she produces the heir he wants he will not force an arranged pairing on her. It just happens that Owen is sat in a pub drinking and thinking he will never find his mate. He readily admits he is jealous of his Alpha Liam who has found his true mate Devon. Mia just happens to be searching for someone to make her pregnant in the very same bar and she soon sets her eyes on the rather hot looking guy at the bar. 
There is so much going on in this tale, there's the werewolves settling into their new territory oblivious to the fact that there is a group of wood nymphs with a crazy male leader who wants them out of what he considers his territory. Why can't they co-exist there is lots of land and space for both groups. I really loved the character of Owen. To begin with he is so overwhelmed that he has set eyes on his mate he gets carried away and they fall straight into bed. It's when he wakens the next day and Mia has gone that his worries begin. Naively he thinks its because Mia doesn't understand the true mate bond. Between the deception by Mia an the war Mia's father wants with the werewolves there's loads going on in this tale. I really didn't want to put it down. I would certainly love for more tales about Owens pack as shifters are one of my favourite paranormal beings to read about. I admit I was a little skeptical about a wood nymph's as I haven't read about them before but Mia was an interesting character, though werewolves remain my favourite!

This anthology as a whole was a really great read. I enjoyed reading more by these authors, and definitely would want to read lots more by them. I readily admit I have avoided books and authors who write erotica but having read a couple of tales by Eve Langlais I would be interested in reading other titles by her now, though not those labelled as erotica. I found I loved all the tales and certainly want to read more by all these authors.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this anthology were, Wow steamy, sizzling hot shifters! I want more! 


Once again, this great anthology has indulged my love of werewolf shifters and also introduced me to other shifters and paranormal beings. I always used to be of the opinion that I loved only werewolf shifters but these anthologies have encouraged me to read about other paranormal beings, such as the bear shifters, lion shifters and wood nymphs. I honestly loved revisiting the settings and characters from Bought By The Bear by Milly Taiden and The Alpha And I by Kate Baxter, which featured in Thanks Fur Last Night. I would love more stories in all the settings featured in this book. Are there going to be more anthologies and when can I read them? 



Thursday, 10 May 2018

REVIEW - UNRAVELED - PERFECTED BY KATE JARVIK BIRCH

Title: Unraveled
Series: Perfected
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Genre: Teens, YA
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 3rd April 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Ella isn’t anyone’s pet anymore, but she’s certainly not free.

After exposing the dark secrets about NuPet’s breeding program, forcing them to repeal the law that allowed genetically modified girls to be kept as pets, she thought girls like her would finally be free. She never dreamed that it would backfire. NuPet may have convinced the public of their intentions to assimilate pets back into society, but Ella knows it’s a lie.

They aren’t planning mass rehabilitation...they’re planning a mass extermination.

Now, with the help of a small group of rebels, Ella and Penn, the boy she’d give up her life for, set out to bring down NuPet for good. But when her group gets implicated in a string of bombings, no one is safe. If she can’t untangle the web of blackmail and lies that extends far beyond NuPet’s reach, she won’t just lose her chance at freedom, she’ll lose everyone she loves.
 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading and loving Perfected and Tarnished, the previous books in this series I knew that not only did I want to read the third and last book in this series, I really had to. I needed to find out how everything ends for the characters I have come to love. I also wanted to see if the ones I enjoyed hating got their comeuppance too. So when I was asked if I would like to review the book I jumped at the chance.

I have loved all the covers in the Perfected series and the cover of Unraveled fits in beautifully with the other covers. This one has a gorgeous flowing green dress at its centre which certainly draws your eyes to it. Then you notice the open jaws of the trap, which gives a really big hit as to what is going on in the book. There is also another great byline featured on this cover which says, "Rebellion comes at a price" which is also really appropriate for goes o in the book.

The genres I have seen listed for this book are Teens, YA though I would also add that it is Sci-Fi and Dystopian. A plague also plays a important part in the book so I would also add Post apocalyptic to the genre list. 

This book begins with Ella, Penn ad their new liberationist friends Markus, Ian, Dave and Jane gathered outside a large warehouse about to undertake a mission to rescue the NuPets held within. They are acting on intelligence they have managed to gather that says a large number of NuPets are going to be held at the warehouse prior to being exterminated. Sadly for them they are walking right into a well laid trap. The liberationists have been tricked and given false information. The most annoying pat of the failed mission for leader Markus is that they have been sold out from someone within the trusted liberationist group.

Ella is determined to free as many NuPet's as she possibly can. She is most determined to pay what she sees as a debt back to Missy. Missy willingly sacrificed her own freedom so Ella and Penn could get away. Ella will go to any lengths needed in her efforts to free Missy even putting her own life on the line. Even when faced with the choice of swapping places with Missy during the failed warehouse mission, Ella is instantly prepared to give her own life in exchange for her friends freedom.

So since there's a spy in the group Markus decides it isn't safe for any of them to return to their Head Quarters. They need to find somewhere to lay low for a while. They need to take stock of the equipment they have and what skills they have to plan out what to do next. 

Whilst the small now isolated band of  liberationist's are licking their wounds, covertly gathering supplies and trying to lay low they end up being front page news. Several bombs have been detonated first at the Greenwich Kennels, killing Miss Gellner, so at least one person is dead. Then once again at a small restaurant where some of the liberation group have been meeting someone to help them to possibly bring down John Kimballrecently been seen in. Obviously this causes some unrest within the small group of liberationists, first accusing each other, then thinking it could be the liberationists they left at head quarters. Who could be framing them? The spy from within their own group? Or is John Kimball stooping so low as to kill people and the put the blame on his own son Penn and the other members of the liberation group to discredit them and turn the public opinion against them? It seems John Kimball is not above using his own daughter Ruby as a pawn in his relationship with wife Elise. What else or who else will John Kimball discard and "throw to the wolves" to save his own reputation, wealth and career?

John Kimball really does seem to be the man whom nothing bad ever seems to stick to! It seem's he always has a friend in the right place to smooth everything over for him. However with a little help from a rather unexpected source during a dangerous clandestine meeting means that the liberationists finally have a location for some evidence that will bring him down once and for all, but it all sounds so easy. . . an isolated, unprotected small shack holding information that would bring him to his knees. Well yes the saying if it sounds too good to be true it usually is definitely fits the predicament that Ella and her liberationist friends find themselves in. What with bickering, jealousy and trust issues, its a wonder they.....

I genuinely loved this book there was plenty of action, suspense and betrayal. The way Kate Jarvik Birch had everything slowly unfurl, giving you as a reader the chance to guess at who the spy/double agent was great. Kate Jarvik Bich certainly keeps you o the edge of your seat in this book. 
I also loved the more emotional scenes with Penn & Ella, Penn ad his mother Elise, Ruby & Ella and finally the scenes with Ella & Missy.

Though she is not central within this final book, she is still there and being used as a pawn to punish Elise ad Penn. I loved Ruby and her unquestioning trust and the love she shares with and for Ella. 

I loved Ella and her determination to push on against the odds, even when things are stacked heavily against he she continues her efforts.  

Ella finally has a change of fortune and receives a little help from a unlikely source just when she thinks she has lost everyone and everything.

I enjoyed hating John Kimball and continued to do so even more in this last installment of the series. I hated how John mistreated and used Missy to goad and draw Ella to him. He enjoyed flaunting the bedraggled, hurt, abused, and caged Missy in front of Ella. I fact the only time you see a glimmer of sorrow is when he realises his daughter Ruby has seen ad heard what is going on. 
In the end Ella has a difficult, life changing choice to make, at one point she isn't sure she will be able to carry out her threat. . . . annnd of course I am not going to reveal whether she does or not.

Loved this series from the very beginning, sad to lose such a well loved character. Thoroughly enjoyed reading and seriously hated having to put this book down!

My final thoughts upon finishing this book were "wow! what a series!" I do not like revealing anything spoilery and but I have revealed that there are deaths in this book though I will not reveal which the who or the how. I will say one of the death had to happen or the book would not have been realistic enough. For all the adored characters to simply survive would have been too contrived and I think, ruined the feel and tone of the book. It would have made the ending too "cutesy" and "chocolate box". 



Friday, 4 May 2018

REVIEW - THE UNIT BY NINNI HOLMQVIST

Title: The Unit
Author: Ninni Holmqvist
Genre: General Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: One World
Release Date: 4th May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Ninni Holmqvist's uncanny dystopian novel envisions a society in the not-so-distant future, where women over fifty and men over sixty who are unmarried and childless are sent to a retirement community called the Unit. They're given lavish apartments set amongst beautiful gardens and state-of-the-art facilities; they're fed elaborate gourmet meals, surrounded by others just like them. It's an idyllic place, but there's a catch: the residents--known as dispensables--must donate their organs, one by one, until the final donation. When Dorrit Weger arrives at the Unit, she resigns herself to this fate, seeking only peace in her final days. But she soon falls in love, and this unexpected, improbable happiness throws the future into doubt.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I was intrigued by the idea of people being classed as "dispensable", what sort of society would be okay with deciding who has a meaningful life and who is to be classed "dispensable". Who decides? Do the people accept their allotted fate? 

The cover I have featured above is the UK version. Below this review I have put a picture of both covers to ask which you prefer. So I shall describe and talk about the UK version which has a background colour of a blue/green colour. The title appears twice on the cover. The word Unit dominates the whole cover and gives it a utilitarian, no fuss, almost medical feel to the book but there is also the title "the Unit" fitted around the large I from the word Unit. The word Unit made me think of cubicle walls of a medical room/ward.
There's also a quote about the book by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaids Tale and is a well respected author. So I guess if she has read the book and liked it what better recommendation could it have. I should admit these quotes from author on front are usually one of my "pet hates" but a comment from Margaret Atwood is wow!

The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Fantasy and General Adult fiction which I do agree with. Personally I would also add Dystopian and Futuristic too. 

The basis of the book is that the world has so many people in it that if by the age of 50 you are not a highly successful person and/or have family relying on you then you are considered dispensable and sent to a Unit where you take part in medical trials, experiments and donate organs to the un-dispensable that are living their fulfilling lives. Once you enter the Unit you have been assigned to you never leave. You are not allowed anymore contact with the outside world, nor are you permitted to walk outside in the fresh air again. You basically give up your freedom the moment you enter the Unit. These Units can't sing their own praises enough, such as how modern they are, how their indoor gardens are so realistic you will think you are outdoors, there are shops you need no money for you just go and choose what you want or request the item you wish for to be ordered in for you. There are movies, books, musical instruments if you want them. The regular monthly intake of newbies that mean a welcome party every month. There are other gatherings such as dances, different restaurants to eat in. If you want to be alone you have your own apartment within the unit. 

The down side of the Unit is obviously kept as secretive and quiet as possible, it certainly isn't widely discussed at any of the newbie meetings or Welcome Parties. When you arrive at the Unit you already know why you are there and that you will be experimented on and be testing new medications etc.

One such trial a female dispensable is put on makes her begin to develop into a male, meaning a deeper voice, more facial and body hair. Some of the tests, experiments, treatments and medications that are being trialed have side effects which can be anything to uncontrollably breaking wind, to being very sick, or even developing serious life threatening disease. The organs that are donated, such as part of an eye or ear that leave the donor blind or deaf. It makes you wonder how these outrageous experiments are allowed to be carried out on live guinea pigs! How can one persons life be deemed less valuable than another's? Then there is the kind of "get out clause" if you cannot cope any longer living in the Unit, which is a "final donation form" you fill in and then you are giving a date to go down to surgery to have all remaining functional organs removed and stored for future use by non dispensable recipients.

My favourite character in the book is Dorrit Weger, she is also the main character of the book. Dorrit has been classified as dispensable. Dorrit seems to have quickly accepted what her new life will be, and realises that as a single woman with no children she is dispensible. This resignation and acceptance of her fate doesn't stop Dorrit musing at how different things could have been. She had been in a long
relationship with a man called Nils who was younger than her. Nils already had a child with someone else but it seems like he kind of wanted to have the best of both wolds, in that he was leading quite a good double life. Though he had never actually said the words "I love you" to Dorrit, when she was nearing he 50th birthday she finally asked him to provide a letter saying he loved her for the authorities. Nils however reveals he wants his child, his son to grow up in a home where both his parents live. Nils breaks down crying saying he cannot lie to the authorities as that would be perjury. Nils continues to howl and say how much he will miss her when she has to leave! Dorrit did not cry, as he did. In fact Dorrit did not cry for her most beloved dog Jock, whom, in my opinion had been a much better companion to her than Nils ever was. Dorrit had found a family nearby that she knew would take care of Jock and give him as much love as she had. 

When we first meet Dorrit she is waiting patiently to be collected from her little home and taken to her "new home" to live in a specially built facility with others like her. Other's that have been deemed dispensable. An unmarked van with blacked out windows arrives to collect Dorrit, she is the only one on the bus apart from the driver. Dorrit cannot see anything outside the van because of the blacked out windows. The only sense that is any use to Dorrit is her hearing, as she can hear the different sounds the van engine makes. Eventually it seems like they maybe in a tunnel of some sort but they don't go out the other side, instead the van stops and she is greeted by a man called Dick and a woman named Henrietta who are both wearing the linden green uniform with the logo of the Unit on the breast pocket. Dorrit recognises the logo from the information pack that had been sent to her a few months ago. Dick and Henrietta escort Dorrit through the complex hallways and lifts and different floors introducing people as they come across them.

Dorrit is surprised by her room/apartment's  fairly generous size and what it contains. It's much more comfortable and furnished a lot better than she had expected. Dorrit is pleased to see the modern tasteful decoration in soft muted colour's. Though Dorrit is not as pleased to notice the camera's and microphones that are hidden in the tiniest nooks and crannies available. Dorrit realises she has no choice but to adapt to this new life she is embarking upon. There is a newbies meeting where they all meet the others in the exact position they are in. There are eight of them in total with only two of them being men. Some of the other newbies that have just arrived at the Unit that Dorrit meets are Annie who had been a hotel receptionist, and Elsa who had worked at the same shoe store since she finished school until now.

In the evening Dorrit and the other newbies get to meet other residents that have been at the Unit much longer. As Dorrit and the newbies become friends with other residents we as readers lean more about what happens at the Unit. 

Majken has been at the Second Reserve Bank Unit for 4 years, she has donated her eggs for stem cell research, donated a kidney, as well as a an auditory bone from her right ear. Majken is now deaf in he right ear. Majken is quite open about the fact he life at the Unit is coming to an end, explaining that in a few weeks she will be donating her pancreas to a student nurse who has four kids.

Dorrit and the other newbies, along with those residents that have been at the Unit longer soon get caught up in the different trials, from fitness trials, to medical trials as well as the organ donation too. The "residents" or "inmates" as they also could be called, form relationships with each other, that are not discouraged as long as these relationships do not interfere with the work being done at the Unit. 
The dispensable's live in what some would see as a life of luxury, a place to live, free of charge, food, clothing, entertainment provided what could they possibly wish for? . . . Their own life? Their own chance at love and a family maybe? Many of the indispensables begin innocent friendship's that rapidly develop into more like a permanent relationship they would have if they were non-dispensable. There are lesbian, gay and heterosexual relationships which are all allowed to continue as long as they do not interfere with the purpose of the Unit. Obviously when one dispensable from a relationship gives their final donation that leaves a grieving dispensable behind. Though this can be avoided by being stoic as both of the dispensable know the consequences of their relationships. Also any of the dispensable can fill in a form to end their own life by donations all their body has to offer and therefore dying themselves too. This seems to have worked, until a
dispensable becomes pregnant and immediately becomes elated with the news presuming now she is to be a mother she will be reclassified as being non-dispensable along with her fellow dispensable partner. I mean her pregnancy changes everything now doesn't it? They can be a family? They can leave the Unit together? Can't they? They are both relatively healthy, they can become a real family and bring up their child?

I found this book to be intriguing, deeply thought provoking, and a book that took you through a whole range of emotions. Who decides who is dispensable? Why should dispensibles be subjected to medical trials and also voluntarily give their organs including vital organs that inevitably cause their death to others considered non-dispensible. I really grew to care a lot about Dorrit who is let down by a dishonest man called Nils whom she thinks loves her and wants to grow old with her. Sadly Nils seems to have just been leading Dorrit on. Then she accepts that her life is that of a dispensable, that her chance of love and her own family is gone, but has it? At times in this book I wanted to scream and shout on behalf of Dorrit who seems to be the "victim" in the book. Yet at the very end of the book she does get her way about one thing. This book honestly makes you think about a lot of difficult subjects that are usually "brushed under the carpet" or only discussed "behind closed doors" such as the whole different class system between the dispensable and indispensable. Then there's the younger man who has been using Dorrit and had little intention of growing old with her. There is also the fact families drift apart and how Dorrit finally learns what happened to her older sister as her life ended. I enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships between those living at the Unit. Those that chose short and sweet love affairs before they became so dispensible it was time for them to make the ultimate sacrifice by donating an organ that would mean they could no longer live. You experience the grief when someone makes their "final donation" and dies. Then there will be another influx of newbies, meaning the cycle begins all over again. I could go on and on about this book, it covers so many different subjects that are amazing conversation starters, or maybe the correct term would be debate starters. 

My first thoughts upon finishing this book were what an abrupt, yet understandable and plausible ending. At first I thought the basis of this book and it's dystopian society was very strange, however the more I read and the further I was pulled into the plot I began to realise that this was something that could actually happen in our near future society.

I really loved reading this book, it felt more than just a story, it feels like we aren't that much removed from the possibility that these Units could be in our future! It really is that believable. I could chat/write and rattle on and on about different aspects in the book. I hope I haven't given too much away. It's a difficult book to talk (I know rave about) without revealing certain facts.



COVER COMPARE
Above are the two covers I have seen for this book. I have described the blue/green one above in my review. The one on the left that is a stark white is a great cover, in that it could be a scene from within the book. 
So which cover do you prefer?

Friday, 27 April 2018

REVIEW - TRUE STORM - TRUE BORN BY L.E.STERLING

Title: True Storm
Series: True Born
Author: L.E. Sterling
Genre: YA, SciFi, Dystopian
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 1st May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her—but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?

But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? Can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm??

As they say in Dominion, can rogue genes ever have a happy ending?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
As soon as I heard this one was due for release I knew I just had to read it. I'd just read the third book in another trilogy and loved it, so whilst I really wanted to read this book, I also didn't want it all to end either.

The back ground of this cover is a gorgeous blue-ish purple colour, I love it. The cove has the bones/antlers on the font once again which makes it eye-catching as well as fitting in with the other book covers in this series. I think the covers for the whole series are amazing and would look great together on a book shelf! The byline on this cover is as cryptic as the ones on the rest of the series, though I'm sure all will become clearer once I have read the book. I think this cover, in fact the covers of the whole series are very unusual and will be eye-catching on a book store shelf so certainly do their job very well.

Genres I have seen listed for this book include Teens, YA, SciFi, Dystopia which I totally agree with but I personally would add apocalyptic as there is the pandemic which is still thriving in Dominion City in this last book of the trilogy. I believe the book could also be labelled as having genetic elements, as well as having some romance. So I do think that this book will appeal to a wide audience and not just a teen readers either!

I did initially find this book more difficult to get into, I'm not sure whether it was to do with my "I don't want it to end" thoughts or that things were just moving a little too slowly for me to begin with. Once I did settle and get into the book I didn't want to put it down!

Once again there is the class divide as well as the type of people divide of Lasters who live day to day waiting for the plague to strike them down. The Splicers who use what eve money they have and can get a hold of to pay for expensive treatments to prolong their lives The True Born are still quite mysterious, feared and ostracised by most. When Lucy's parents ran off to Russia with Margot the only people that wanted to help were the True Born's. So it's only natural that Lucy offers to help gaining intelligence and information from the remaining males in the upper circle for them. Lucy ends up being the True Born's link to the Upper Circle Splicers and Lasters. Nolan Storm wants to form a new ruling council, one that will represent all the people of Dominion City. Could Nolan Storm want Lucy to be one of the new council members. It's a possibility as he takes her to the meetings to discuss the possibility of a new council.

In this book the girls have been reunited, but things are just not quite the same anymore. It seems that Margot isn't revealing all of what happened whilst she was held captive in Russia other than she was married to the mysterious Russian that their parents chose for her. Though Margot is upset and through their bond Lucy also feels this and asks he sister about it, Margot refuses to reveal all that happened. As the book goes on it becomes apparent that Margot being the more confident and outgoing twin had secrets she kept from Lucy when they were happily oblivious and attending the exclusive Greyguard school together along with the rest of the elite and upper circle students.

Its quite amusing when Lucy receives a letter from Alistair and Jared is obviously jealous that someone else is getting Lucy's attention when he loves her so much but keeps holding back saying he isn't right for her. 

There's still plenty of the romantic elements in this book, Lucy seems to be gather prospective boyfriend/potential husbands! There's Jared her personal merc guard since she has been under the protection of new Guardian Nolan Storm. Nolan Storm is another potential husband and then of course there's the rather mysterious Alistair who generously gives Lucy a family heirloom necklace without revealing it's full power and meaning. 

Lucy continues to work with Doctor Raines in the lab that Nolan Storm has provided her with. Doctor Raines continues to examine Lucy and Margot's blood observing its unique properties. I think I am okay to reveal without giving any major spoilers, that at one point the twins unique blood is compared to the unique properties of the tree that is still being "worshiped" and has been made into a sacred place by the lasters.

The characters I have loved all the way through the series are Lucinda Fox, who continues to try to make the best of a bad situation and ends up facing a possible choice of three potential boyfriends/husbands in this book. I adored the relationship between Lucy and Jared Price he merc guard and boy crush throughout the series so far. Though Lucy finds it difficult to handle the fact Jared keeps holding them apart, not quite committing to the possibility of a romantic relationship.

I admit to not always being very keen on Lucy's twin sister Margot Fox but I did grow to like her much more in this final book of the series. Margot always seemed to be the twin that belonged and thrived best in the Upper Circle. In this final book the birthmarks of the sisters and the whole Lock and Key element to the story are revealed. We also learn who the main person is behind why the girls genetic are so different to others around them. I'm not going to say who but when it was revealed to me in the book I was like, yes I believe that character would be so conniving and capable of all that the girls have gone through.

I enjoyed strongly disliking the crazy Father Wes and his followers with their Evolve Or Die message that appears all over Dominion City. 

I was never totally sure of what I felt about Alistair, there was just something about him I personally just didn't quite trust. Did my opinion of Alistair change with this book? Sort of as he did come to help and do what he could do to protect Lucy and I guess at one point in the book you could say he saved her life. However he did have a rather underhand way of doing this so maybe my first impression of him was right.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were Amazing! This one had me a little teary eyed by the end. Excellent ending to a brilliantly written series! I highly recommend reading this series.

A few characters die in this book, which is a shame for some of them and good riddance to others, but it's all believable and part of the story. The ending is all action packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat to the end. I was sad the series had to end, but as the saying goes "All good things come to an end" There was plenty of nail biting action and drama up to the very end of the book. I'd have to say I was definitely happy with how the series ended. Thank-you to L.E. Sterling for a fantastic read. I'll be keeping a look out for other titles by this author. 


Friday, 20 April 2018

REVIEW - RISEN - BLOOD ETERNAL BY COLE GIBSEN

Title: Risen
Series: Blood Eternal
Author: Cole Gibsen
Genre: Sci-Fi, Teen, YA
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 27th March 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only…I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe. 

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The cover initially attracted me to this book and then when I read the blurb, I realised that I couldn't remember the last time I had read a vampire themed book, so this book was the perfect choice. That and the fact the publishers were Entangled Teen made me give the book a closer look.

As I said the cover was what initially attracted me to the book. The sky in the background of the cover is a murky, turbulent, stormy one. The ground is covered in what I would call autumnal coloured leaves. The main object on the cover is a tree, with its branches and remaining leaves in a heart shape. Most people who read my reviews will probably know by now that I love a good byline. The byline featured towards the bottom of this cover is "From Death Comes Life". . . .quite mysterious, whose death? what life? is this byline about a human about to be tuned into a vampire? Or maybe a vampire that has been turned recently? The only down point about the byline is the font style and its placement could mean a few people miss it. I think it could stand out a little more.

The genres I have seen listed are Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Teens & YA which all fit the book well. I definitely think this book is aimed at the younger to mid teen audience, though I did enjoy reading it myself.

The one thing that made me doubt reading this book was this phrase from within the blurb "Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…" So many books compare themselves to both the Vampire Diaries and Twilight which in my opinion isn't always a good thing. It's kind of a "pet hate" for me. I would have probably just overlooked this book is the rest of the blurb hadn't piqued my interest and the fact the publishers were Entangled Teen who have published many fantastic books. After reading this book I honestly wouldn't compare it to either book mentioned. Maybe whoever decides on using the phrase thinks it will attract more readers, personally it tends to put me off.

The book starts with the main character, Charlize walking her dog Jax wishing something exciting would happen. Charlize or Charlie as most people call her, is bored living in the middle of no-where with her Aunt Rachel. There's no telephones, landline or mobile, or internet etc so Charlie helps her rather hippie Aunt make soap and other craft items to sell. In her spare time Charlie either reads or spends time taking long walks with her German shepherd dog, Jax. Her Aunt always warns her not to stray too far away from the cabin they live in. Charlie does have an ulterior motive for all those long walks with the dog as she has bought herself a mobile phone, which under normal circumstances would have come in handy when two men appear insisting they are taking her Aunt away with them. Her Aunt tells her phoning the police will not help and she stresses to Charlie that under no circumstances at all should she try to run! Charlie is totally shocked by what her Aunt Rachel tells her but does her best to listen to her. Aunt Rachel is taken away by the first two men that had entered the cabin, leaving Charlie behind to be "taken care of" or rather "disposed of" by Sebastian.

So Charlie had managed not to make a run for it whilst the men were holding her Aunt Rachel in the cabin with her but now there was only herself to think about what did she have to lose? So when Charlie finds herself left with a third young man called Sebastian she thinks she should attempt to get away and perhaps find Jax who has been scared away. Sebastian catches up with Charlie easily and warns her not to run or scream as it triggers his blood lust. Charlie has difficulty accepting the existence of vampires but she needs to learn how to survive around them fast!
Sebastian offers to take Charlie to Matteo, King of the Anima who will help her get her Aunt Rachel back. Charlie immediately agrees, as she will do anything to rescue her Aunt. 

There are three types of vampires, Corpus, Mentis and Anima. The Corpus are the most cruel and even feed on their own kin, their gift is to blend into the shadows. The Mentis are kind of middle of the road vampires in that they feed but keep humans in what they call a farm to feed off. The gift the Mentis have is to be able to charm and mind control anyone who looks into their eyes. The final type of vampires are the Anima, these feed on animals and humans. They protect humans and want everyone to know about them and to find a way to live in peace.

Of course there's lots more going on in the book such as why a Mentis like Sebastian cannot remember his life before becoming a vampire. Then there's the rescue plan to be made to retrieve Aunt Rachel from the Mentis clan. Another mystery is where Matteo and Aunt Rachel's off-spring are. I could go on and on about the book. I did enjoy reading it though it ended on quite a cliffhanger situation as we hadn't found the answers for the questions raised by the book. Having said that this is book one in the Blood Eternal series so I would say it was a good thing to leave the first book with some unanswered questions as it keeps you eager for the next book.

I liked Charlie, how her immediate thoughts when her Aunt Rachel is stolen away from her is how can I get her back. I think her Aunt Rachel has underestimated her "niece" and she maybe should have explained the reason they are living so remotely. Aunt Rachel could have prepared Charlie how to react if she was taken from her. Though even by the end of the book Aunt Rachel nor anyone else has really explained to Charlie who/what she is and revealed her true parentage and the power/gift she has deep within herself. 

I really loved the character of Sebastian, his unknown past from before he was made a vampire by the Mentis Clan. The fact Sebastian wants to help Charlie even before he realises she has a power/gift that allows him to see glimpses of his "before" life. Sebastian knows that when he is returned to the Mentis he will suffer for helping Charlie. The Mentis Queen will see to it that he suffers pain for what she will see as a betrayal. There is an instant attraction between Sebastian and Charlie but can it ever work? A vampire, human relationship. . . though we don't actually know what/who Charlie really is!

King Matteo of the Anima is portrayed as a good guy though how long that view will last when the war between the vampires really begins is left unrevealed. It's clear to see that Matteo cares for the lives of humans. He instantly begins planning Aunt Rachel's rescue. It is also revealed that rather than use humans just for blood and disregard or even kill any that are no longer of any use like the other vampire clans of Corpus and Mentis. King Matteo and the Anima Clan willing give blood to any human it can help. In fact we witness one such human when Charlie is helping to make soap who tells her that he had a terminal illness but was cured by vampire blood.

My immediate thoughts were that I enjoyed reading this book, hope this is the beginning of a potentially great series as I would like to read more about Charlie & Sebastian. Especially wanting to know what Charlie is, as well as learning more about Matteo & Aunt Rachel's relationship.

So I did enjoy reading the book but kind of finished feeling like I had wanted a few more definite answers within this book to the questions I had. I will have to be a little more patient and hope to find the answers in the next book. There seemed to be so much going on that could have perhaps been explored more deeply such as why were the Mentis draining blood from the humans and experienting on them? What were the experiments for? Why drain a human until you kill them when you could take blood little and often, more like the Anima Clan and have a plentiful supply of blood given willingly? I think I would have liked to know a little more about each clan, specifically the Anima and Mentis ones.

Also at around 80% of the way through the book it ends and the remainder of the book is labelled "bonus content" and is from Sebastian's point of view, which was mostly, basically what we had read at the beginning of the book from Charlie's view. The section from Sebastian's outlook was interesting when we got little hints and perhaps more detail of things that had happened to Sebastian in the Mentis Clan that lead up to him being trusted and tested at the same time on the retrieval of Aunt Rachel and the clear up and search for information. I would have rather had that inserted within the main part of the book somehow. I just felt a little disappointed with the section from Sebastian's point of view as it didn't reveal anything different enough to what we had already read. Saying all that I would like to read the next book in the series, and I would say that this book is perfect for the Teen/YA target audience that it is aimed at.