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