Saturday, 14 December 2013

Review- Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Title: Endless Knight
Series: The Arcana Chronicles

Author: Kresley Cole
Published: October 1st 2013
Book 2

(Sent by Simon and Schuster Publishers) 
The Review for Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) can be found here

Evie unleashes her full arsenal of abilities as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She must learn to trust new allies in an attempt to thwart Death in the epic battle between the remaining Arcana champions. Facing new threats that lurk in the shadows, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance against Bagmen, Cannibals, post-apocalyptic storms, other Arcana, and new horrors she couldn't begin to imagine. On top of all of that, she finds herself strangely drawn to the precarious Endless Knight who shares a history with the Empress; one that she cannot remember, but he can never forget.

I really enjoyed the majority of the novel, as we got to delve more into the world of the Arcana and the Tarot Cards. We also got to see more of the other Arcana champions which I thought was great. The author did a brilliant job in developing the characters and the setting of each stage in the novel. Each champion is unique with their own name, call (a melodic sound which other Arcana hear when a champion nears them), and tableaux (a symbolic image of an Arcana champion which reveals itself when another Arcana first sees them). The author weaves a brilliant world which has a fusion of love and hate, truth and deception, and loyalty and betrayal.

Cole's excellent talent of foreshadowing the events in this novel is amazing. Everything is planned so excellently that it just falls into place. I liked the cover of the novel, as I thought it revealed a lot about the events unfolding within it. The cliffhanger was so ARGH!!! It was a massive cliffhanger that left me wanting the next book NOW! I can't believe I have to wait over a year.   

There were a few things that bothered me a little bit. Firstly, I find it strange that Evie is suddenly an expert in knowing how to use her powers after she was so inexperienced in the first novel. I believe that it should have progressed throughout the novel, not just there without any explanation. Apart from that, the only other thing is that the novel dragged on quite a bit towards the end. It was the same thing over and over again (I won't say it because its a spoiler).

Overall, I believe that Endless Knight was a great sequel to Poison Princess and I cannot wait until the third installment of the Arcana Chronicles. Cole develops an excellent world of the Arcana Chronicles and writes with excellent talent that leaves me inspired.

Rating: 4.5/5 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul Blog Tour! -- Author Interview

I would like to give a warm welcome to Miss Fiona Paul who is the author of the brilliant Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series. She is here today for an interview to do with the Australian Blog Tour of Belladonna which is Book #2 in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series. 

If you would like to see my review of Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) please click here 

To start with, here is a synopsis of the novel:

So let the interview begin!

Quick Q's

1. IPAD or Kindle?
   Nook :)
2. Favourite dessert?
3. Favourite movie?
   The Crow
4. Favourite Actor/Actress?
   I don't really have one. I love Jennifer Lawrence a lot.
5. Morning Person?
   Ha Ha. Maybe like 0200 in the morning person.
6. Favourite singer?
   I'm gonna go with Chris Cornell from Soundgarden because I just saw them live.
7. Superman or Batman?
   Iron Man
8. Favourite animal? (Any in the world)
9. Favourite element? (Water, Earth, Air, Fire)
10. Beaches or Pools?
   Beaches, all the way.

Long Questions 

1. Where and when is your favourite place to read? 
Down the street from my building, there is a huge city park called Forest Park. Also, in front of our art museum is a huge sloping hill called Art Hill where I like to bring a blanket there and read.
2. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, I like eating or exercising--two things I definitely enjoy. I also like reading, movies, live music, cooking, outdoor sports like hiking and kayaking, and having adventures in faraway lands.

3. If you could have any magical power, what would it be?
I would choose to be invisible. I don't even have a cool 'I want to sneak into the Room of Requirement' reason or anything. If I were invisible I could sneak onto airplanes and cruise ships and take all sorts of trips and I really like to travel :) If I were actually given this choice I might have to choose a more active power, like flying or time travel or shooting fireballs out of my eyes, but invisibility would definitely tempt me.

4. Who is your favourite and most relatable character in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series?
Falco because he is sarcastic and tells it like it is. He's also kind of moody and impulsive and speaks before he thinks, all of which describe me. 

5. Where is your favourite holiday destination?
So impossible to choose. I am going to say my favorite travel destinations are Iceland in the summer, Thailand in the winter, and New Zealand all year around.

6. What inspired you to name the books the way they are? 
I did not name any of them, actually :) My understanding is that Penguin's marketing team named the first one, the book development team named the second one, and my editor named the third one. Actually, my editor gave me a short list of two and asked for my opinion. One of the two was STARLING and I latched on to it immediately. 

7. Do you have any regrets about something that you wrote in one of the novels? What would you change?
Hahaha. OMG Daniel. I could write hundreds of pages about regrets and things I would change if I could go back. Welcome to the life of a writer. It is ALL regrets and lost chances. Just a smattering of highlights from my 'Venom regrets file: I would have Cass find Falco the next night at the tavern instead of in the cemetery because the people who said it was dumb for her to go back there are right. I would speed up that turtle-slow beginning where I describe every brick in all of Venice, I would remove some of those flowery lines that seemed so perfect when I wrote the book but now seem horribly purple. I could go on forever here. 

I trust my friends/family to tell me if a typo sneaks into the finished copy and if it does, I will have it fixed. Otherwise, I don't even like reading passages at events because I will find something I want to change. Always. Were it up to me, no book would ever be finished because I would revise them for ten years ;)


And so that concludes the interview. A massive thanks to Miss Fiona Paul for visiting and I cannot wait until the third installment of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose- Starling!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Review- Venom by Fiona Paul

Title: Venom
Series: The Secrets of the Eternal Rose 

Author: Fiona Paul
Published: December 6th 2012
Book 1

(Sent by HarperCollins Publishers) 
Cassandra Caravello is an upper-class teenage girl residing in Venice with her aging Aunt. She is surrounded by wealth, fortune, fabulous gowns and anything she could have hoped for. But she yearns for something more-- Freedom. Freedom from all expectations, freedom from her commanding tasks and most of all, freedom from her premature engagement. While her fiancĂ©, Luca, is away studying in Paris, she meets the charming and audacious artist named Falco. Cassandra stumbles upon a body with a bloody X carved into its chest. She and Falco work together to uncover the truth, while in the process, Cassandra receives a death threat from the killer. She is drawn into another world of secret societies, courtesans and killers. 

I really enjoyed this novel, especially the setting. The vivid descriptions of Venice and its scenery are full of depth that flows so easily, it feels like you are right there on the journey with Cassandra. The characters were likable and they were developed reasonably well. I especially loved Cassandra in the sense that she is not what you would expect a wealthy, upper-class person to be because she is kind to the maidens, gardeners and the cooks which only adds to her personality. The author writes this novel as though she has written many others but I was surprised to find out that this was her debut novel. I know now that I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for more of her books.

I really loved the mystery in this book. Each body that was found seemed to be linked together. It was the same with the clues found at various stages of the novel. It got me thinking about how someone could create such an amazing story and it is obvious that Fiona Paul is extremely talented to create something like this. I absolutely LOVE the cover of this novel. It reveals the setting of Renaissance Venice in the background which I think contributes to the cover really well as it provides an insight of what is to come. The protagonist is also portrayed really well. She is clutching a mask in her hand which, apart from other obvious reasons, implies that she has something to hide, or wants to hide her identity from prying eyes. I think that it defines the novel really well and it also looks great. 

The novel was a little slow paced at one stage during the start of the book, but then events started unfolding it was nothing but fast paced. I also would've liked to see a lot more of the secret societies mentioned in the blurb, rather than only being evident towards the end of the novel. I know that it was mentioned towards the end of the novel because it would lead up to the next but I still would've liked to see more of it. 

Overall, this was a great read that I recommend for people who like Mystery and I will definitely be awaiting the next novel in the series. Fiona Paul has obvious talent for writing and I cannot wait to see how everything turns out. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review- Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Scent of Magic
Series: Healer 

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: December 18th 2012
Book 2

(Sent by Harlequin Publishers) 
The Review for Touch of Power (Book One of the Healer Series) can be found here.
Avry is a Healer on a mission. Believed to be dead by friends and enemies alike, she must embark on a mission to stop King Tohon's evil deeds and repair the bond between her sister and herself. She and Kerrick must go their separate ways in order to save the Fifteen Realms. Avry intrudes on Queen Estrid's army in with a new name, look and title. She teaches the army forest skills, while at the same time, learns as much as she can about Tohon and his army of the undead. Close bonds are made between Avry and her fellow battle mates, war is brewing and betrayals are revealed, coming alive in the midst of trusted moments. 

I absolutely loved every single moment of this book. There was a new perspective introduced in the book which I thought only provided more depth to the characters and provided a new outlook on events taking place in the book. Avry seems more developed in this book than the first. She seems to be taking more risks, making her own decisions and doesn't back down from a fight easily. She has grown into and excellent character who allows the audience to relate to what she feels and does. The Death and Peace Lily's prove to have excellent use in this novel as it creates a MASSIVELY unexpected event to happen. It was excellently written and I have to commend the author on the many unexpected events, cliffhangers and developments made in this novel. 

The only thing more that I would've liked is to see more of the other types of magic in use rather than just seeing Avry's healing and Kerrick's forest magic. I also would've liked the first 50 or so pages to be a little bit more fast paced or to have a little more action included in them. Apart from that, the novel was a great read with an excellently written plot which the author allows the audience a personal link with each character. This book ended with the BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER EVER!!! All I can say is that the wait for the third book is going to be a hassle. Maria V. Snyder is an extremely talented author with an obvious passion for writing and I believe that this novel is one liked by many.

Overall, I cannot wait until the next book in the series as I am sure it will be just as great as its prequels. This book has a blend of everything you could wish for. Mystery, betrayal, war, magic, paranormal and much much more. I am sure most people loved it and are also eagerly awaiting the next book.

Rating 5/5

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review- Pathfinder and Ruins by Orson Scott Card

Title: Pathfinder
Series: Pathfinder

Author: Orson Scott Card
Published: December 12th 2011
Book 1

(Sent by Simon and Schuster Publishers) 
Rigg is a young boy, well-trained by his father to keep countless secrets. The biggest secret being kept is that Rigg can see paths. Paths of animals and humans are characterised by colours and shapes depending how recent they are made. His father has taught him everything he knows ranging from subjects like Geography to Astronomy. Rigg believes that all of these teachings are pointless, as his day to day life consisted of setting traps for animals in the forest then selling their furs for money. Little does he know that the day his father dies, everything will change. Betrayals and mysteries will be uncovered, along with others who have similar abilities to him and Rigg will use his father's teachings to uncover who he truly is and who he can trust.

I generally liked this novel as the author provided great depth to each of the protagonists and each scene was described with utmost precision. The author weaves a binding tale, leaving behind a web of mysteries and conspiracies that leave the audience awestruck. The novel was a likable with the exception of a few setbacks. When the author was describing each character's ability, he confused me so much to the point where I had absolutely no idea what some of the character's abilities are. Similarly with the plot of the story and some descriptions of it, the author answers questions with questions leaving me dumbfounded as to what the answer might be. Some parts of the novel dragged on for so long because of this and one of many particular scenes with Rigg, thinking to himself lasted for approximately 12 pages and it ended up being irrelevant in the end anyway. Overall, the main plot of the story is well-written and I think it could've been a lot better if the answers to some of the questions were clearer and the abilities of the characters are actually specified.
Rating: 4/5


Title: Ruins
Series: Pathfinder
Author: Orson Scott Card
Published: November 1st 2012
Book 2

(Sent by Simon and Schuster Publishers) 
Rigg and his friends have finally passed the Wall into Vadeshfold. They believe that they will find a safe haven, invisible to the eyes of the people who want to kill them. But there are new dangers that are exotic to them. They soon discover that Vadesh-- the wallfold's expendable-- is untrustworthy, but they cannot even overcome their issues and trust each other. They learn that there is a danger fast approaching towards Garden. They must learn to trust one another, learn to control their time shifting abilities and alter the past, or there will be no future for Garden. 

The thing that I most liked about this novel was how the author adds just the right amount of depth to the characters and their emotions. Similarly with the first novel, I enjoyed the premise of the book, however, the author just writes the book in a way that didn't appeal to me at all.The thing that I most disliked about the book was that it was basically pointless. The protagonists just kept on going into the past to try and figure out how to stop their world from ending and by the end of the book, they still fail to discover WHO DID IT, WHY THEY DID IT, AND WHAT THE RESOLUTION IS! It was an endless ring of time shifting, going back to the present because it failed, then time shifting to another point and still coming back to the present because it failed. Similarly with the first book, Pathfinder, the author also answers questions with questions for chapters at a time with no real answer you just stare at the book thinking "that was pointless".

Overall, this book wasn't as appealing as I expected it to be and it is the same for the first in the series. For the most part (by that I mean the plot), the novel was good and the characters were great but I think it could of been better if the author had a proper resolution and STOPPED answering questions with questions for CHAPTERS at a time.

Rating 3/5:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Review- Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Title: Poison Princess
Series: The Arcana Chronicles

Author: Kresley Cole
Published: October 1st 2012
Book 1

(Sent by Simon and Schuster Publishers) 
The Review for Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles #2) can be found here

Evangeline, "Evie", Greene is plagued with hallucinations, nightmares and hearing voices. She leads a regular life as any sixteen year old teenage girl would, trying to suppress and ignore her aggravating hallucinations and the irksome voices that penetrate her mind. When an apocalyptic cataclysm demolishes the country, Evie begins to discover that her hallucinations predicted the future. And they continue to do so. She has no choice but to turn to her delinquent classmate; Jackson Deveaux. He and Evie travel across what’s left of the catastrophic land and along the way meet others with unique abilities to answer the call that was laid upon them. Evie discovers a shocking ability that will cause her to either save or destroy the world. 

I pride the author on her eloquent style of writing that remained consistent throughout the novel. It contributed to creating the mystical and enthralling world in which took place events that enticed me to keep reading the next couple of chapters just to see the outcome. Each character seemed to be developing throughout the book which forms a bond between them and the readers. I constantly empathised with many of the characters in this novel as the author weaves a binding tale which continues to be intriguing and spellbinding. It honestly amazed me how the author managed to incorporate small parts of romance between characters even though the world around them is slowly crumbling.

What really drew me to the book was the cover. It surprises me that this one image gives away many of the events that unfold throughout the novel. The raging fires and barren land in the background giveaway the event of the apocalypse. The main image provides us with the information that these are the two protagonists of may have a forming or already formed relationship. The cover is an excellent pick which defines this novel perfectly. The only minor thing that troubled me in this novel was the sudden rages that Jackson had for absolutely no reason at all. 

Overall, the novel Poison Princess was, in my opinion, a great success and I highly recommend it. Kresley Cole, the author, creates an excellent first novel in the Arcana Chronicles and leaves me waiting for a much anticipated sequel. 

Rating 5/5

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Review- Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: Spellcaster
Series: Spellbound

Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Published: April 1st 2012
Book 2

(Sent by Harlequin Publishers) 

After breaking a century-old curse, Emma Connor is glad to be with Brendan, safe and back to their normal lives-- for now. An old friend of Angelique's (Emma's best friend) called Megan is trying to break apart Brendan and Emma once again but this time for their blood. Megan used to also go to Vincent Academy and she is a witch just like Angelique. Megan left Vincent Academy and started travelling on a darker path. Megan has tried to break apart Brendan and Emma and even went to the extent of harming civilians  Will Emma and Brendan have trust in each other to continue? Will they beat Megan at her own game? And will Emma's newly found witch's powers prevail against Megan?

The first thing that I liked about this novel was that it was a lot more action packed compared to its prequel. In the prequel, there was a whole lot of romance and the action only began towards the end of the novel. In this novel Emma and Brendan face several obstacles that Megan has thrown into their paths to separate them forever. I also liked how we see a bit more magic in the book compared to the prequel. There are more spells performed, more characters introduced and more obstacles faced. The characters each have their opinions on everything and no two characters are alike. Randi (Angelique's cousin) is a beautiful blonde witch who helps Emma and Angelique in their path to defeating Megan, while Angelique is a character who has a darker nature (in terms of wearing black clothes and performing spells in her room with candles). Angelique also discovers a new and unique power that added extra interest in this book.

What I didn't really like about this book was how much romance it contained. Although it improved greatly from its prequel, this book still has a lot. Every couple of pages, Emma is enthralled with Brendan's beauty and Vice Versa. I also don't really like how slow-paced the book is. At times the book just drags on and nothing interesting really happens. Apart from these flaws however, the book would be a great read.

Overall, I believe that this book should be read by all who love the romance genre. Compared to the first book which I rated three stars, this book has improved in many ways and I expect that it will continue to improve.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Review- Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy

Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant

Author: Derek Landy
Published: August 30th 2012
Book 7

(Sent by HarperCollins Publishers)  
In the enthralling world of Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain, magic is a disease. Mortal people across the land are developing unimaginable powers and it is spreading like wildfire. The novel begins when four teenagers develop these mysterious abilities and use it to terminate whatever and whoever is in their path to become "Gods". Unlike normal magical people, these four teenagers have several different abilities which they can call upon and wreak havoc. In addition to this major drawback, another mortal who was infected by transforming into an aggressive Werewolf leads detectives Pleasant and Cain on a hunt for a man named "Argeddion", who is the man that is responsible for this crisis. Detectives Pleasant and Cain are desperately needed to put an end to the madness of this situation. However will they get to Argeddion before the four teenagers destroy the world with their powerful abilities or will Argeddion get to them first?

The first thing I would like to say is that Derek Landy has truly outdone himself with the seventh installment of the Skulduggery Series. His writing style is honestly out of this world and he has the talent to blend several genre's into one completely spellbinding book. It has everything! Fantasy, magic, adventure, humor, a little paranormal and a lot of mystery. This book was eloquently written and I believe that every moment of it kept you wanting to read the next couple of chapters. The cover of the book is just amazing and gives the audience a little hint of a scene in the book. I also love the witty captions on the bottom of the book cover. They are very creative and suit the book. I honestly think this is the best installment of the Skulduggery Series until the 8th and 9th books come out in the future.

This book ended with the largest cliffhanger ever imaginable in the Epilogue! It just left me awestruck and made me want to get my hands on the eighth book straight after, but it wasn't out anytime soon :( I honestly think that the this series is on my top 5 list and I couldn't think of any improvements to be made. I would give this book more than 5/5 if possible. Derek Landy has an amazing talent and passion for writing and I am proud to say that he is now one of my favourite authors ever!!!

Overall, I believe that this book should be read by anyone and everyone of all ages! It is truly a magnificent novel that I recommend to all. I can spot no flaws in this astonishing and enthralling novel and I rate it:

Rating 5/5 Astounding Crests

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review- Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power
Series: Healer 

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: December 20th 2011
Book 1 

(Sent by Harlequin Publishers) 
In the enthralling yet mystical tale of Avry, Healers were a hated race of people. They were believed to be the cause of the Plague that took the lives of a large part of the population in the world. They were hunted and treated like animals if they weren't already killed upon sight. Avry is a Healer, she has been running for several years, stopping from town to town and forest to forest. In one of the several towns she has visited, Avry offers to babysit a small child who is extremely sick. In the dead of night, Avry healed the child, absorbing the sickness into herself. Avry became weak with sickness and slept through until the remnants of the illness was out of her system. Her healing abilities allowed her to heal faster than any normal person and by morning, she was in perfect health. Instead of being grateful for the health of their daughter, the parents called soldiers upon Avry because they had a suspicion that she had healed their daughter. The soldiers rained upon Avry, capturing her and putting her in a prison cell while she awaited her execution. During the night of her capture, four men came and visited Avry, requesting her help to heal an important friend of theirs and in return, they would save her from her execution. Avry agreed and accompanied them on their journey to save the life of their friend. Throughout the journey, friendships were made, hardships were faced, battles were fought and betrayals were committed. 

I am going to begin by speaking about the characters. The protagonist, Avry, is extraordinarily created with the sheer talent, imagination and creativity of the author. Along with the protagonist, Maria V. Snyder has also created a talented group of characters that each are unique with different qualities. Aside from the characters, a number of exotic plants and animals have been newly introduced to the readers. Death and Peace Lilies play significant roles in parts of this novel as their properties are, on various occasions, used for different purposes. Towards the end of the novel, there are zombies introduced which gives this novel the extra genre of Paranormal and it makes it all the better. Maria V. Snyder has provided us all with another novel that we must add to our To be Read list.

The only minor thing that I didn't like was the fact that the novel was very slow-paced in various moments. Especially when the group was travelling, the plot of the story became repetitive at rare times but then it improved not long after. Despite these minor drawbacks, the novel was a complete success written by a talented author. 

Overall, I give this novel 5/5 outstanding stars as the plot of the novel was unlike any other that I have read and it was one of my favourites. Maria V. Snyder is an extremely talented author who is obviously passionate about her work and puts a lot of effort into producing an excellent novel.

Rating: 5/5