Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Title: A Rogue by Any Other Name
Author: Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Piatkis Books
Release Date: 1st February 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets. . .A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance--including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury. A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to an unexplored world of pleasures. Bourne may be a prince of London's illicit underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness--a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . .even her heart.

I don’t tend to read a lot of historical romance, but after seeing so many people rave about The Rules of Scoundrels series by Sarah MacLean I decided to give it a go. I’m glad that I did because this book was an absolute gem. Combining humour, defiant characters, scandal and swoony romance, Sarah MacLean has written a fantastic historical romance. One that I would recommend to everyone. The characters are the heart of this book. The romance and plot is entirely driven by the choices the characters make. Bourne and Penelope just leap of the page and immediately pull you into the world surrounding The Fallen Angel and its illustrious owners.

Told from both Bourne and Penelope’s points of view A Rogue by Any Other Name is Bourne’s story of vengeance and retribution. Ten years ago Bourne lost everything in a card game except his title.  Now he’s part owner of the gambling hell, The Fallen Angel. The only thing Bourne wants is revenge on the man who took everything away from him. His plan involves getting back everything he’s lost and the only way to do that is to marry Lady Penelope Marbury.  As it turns out Bourne’s path to revenge involves falling in love with his wife.  This is a historical novel set in a time where women were not given much value and were expected to be proper. However Penelope is not a meek, quiet sort of a person. She was bold, had a backbone and played the game masterfully. She’s pushed into an undesirable marriage but she sets the stakes and makes sure she gets everything she wants out of it. Essentially Penelope is the hero of this story and not her male counterpart. She’s the one that saves the day making this story much more interesting.

MacLean writes such complex, conflicted characters whose actions drive the plot and whose weaknesses prevent them from having a happy ending. Bourne is driven by revenge when we first meet him, but as he gets to know Penelope his priorities change and he learns a few lessons about himself.  He starts of as a terrible husband. I loved that Penelope didn’t put up with his crap. Their relationship at the beginning was tumultuous. Definitely a push and pull sort of a relationship.  As the story goes on Bourne changes his ways. In the end both Bourne and Penelope change each other and grow together. Bourne learns that there is more to life than revenge and Penelope learns to be bolder. Plus the tension in this book is thick enough to cut with a knife. The romance is defiantly steamy and swoony.

The Fallen Angel was the perfect backdrop for this story with its numerous secrets and vibrant staff. I can’t wait to see what other secrets it holds. There were letters at the start of each chapter that were written by Penelope and Bourne. There were a good way to get to know the characters and their back-story. They gave the characters depth.

A Rogue by Any Other Name was a fantastic historical romance. A must read for fans of the genre or anyone looking for a romantic read.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #20

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I'm reading The Falconer by Elizabeth May. This book absolutely pulled me in. Its got a fierce heroine, steampunk elements and faeries, all set in Scotland. I cannot wait to see how it ends.

What did you recently finish reading?
I haven't read anything recently. It has been over a week since I've finised a book. I've been in a bit of a book slump. I tried reading a few different books but none of them actually held my attention until I picked up The Falconer. It's amazing how a good book can make you excited to read.

What do you think you'll read next?
I still haven't gotten around to reading Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. I also want to read Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #19

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I'm reading Waterfell by Amalie Howard. I do like the writing but the main character is bugging me a little. I'm still in the early stages so I'll see how I go with it.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just recently finished reading One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean. I fell down the historical romance rabbit hole and have been loving The Rules of Scoundrels series. Sarah MacLean writes the most interesting character driven stories where the women are always the heroes.

What do you think you'll read next?
I still haven't gotten around to reading Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron or The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I also went to the library this week and picked up Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. So I might give that a whirl.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 1st December 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Pawn is an unexpected surprise. Twisty and turney, this dystopian adventure is choc full of shocking surprises. This book was defiantly not what I was expecting. What I thought was going to be a book filled with intrigue turned out to be a book where secrets have secrets and no one is whom they seem. Pawn is a game where everyone is playing to win; only everyone has a different set of rules. This book is defiantly dangerous, edgy and filled with secret agendas, even though at times it felt a little over the top.  It didn’t entirely sweep me off my feet but it was a good read.

The book begins with a bang. Pawn is set in a dystopian society that exhibits a divide between the poor and the wealthy.  Pawn has a lot of elements in common with other dystopian novels. However where Pawn stands out is its unexpected surprising plot that dishes out revelation after revelation. Kitty lives in a society that determines a person place by their rank. Kitty is ranked an III, but is offered the choice to become a VII and a member of the ruling family. To become a VII she has to transform and pretend to be the Prime Minister’s niece Lila.  But as a member of the ruling family she has to deal with a rebellion, secret agendas and the all-powerful Hart family. Kitty’s life is on the line because if she so much as steps out of line its means her death.

The book quickly delves into story. However it is the events at the start and the end of the book that grab your attention.  The middle of the book didn’t capture my attention as much as I would have liked. Aimee Carter ensures that there is a sense of danger and underhandedness incorporated into each aspect of the story as characters scheme and plot. As a result only some of the secrets and revelations were truly shocking.  That being said some of the events to me seemed to be a bit over the top and excessive as there was enough duplicity going on without adding to it. At times it seemed as through the characters were trying to out do themselves with all the backstabbing making things a little convoluted.

Kitty is stuck in a very unfortunate situation, especially in the beginning as Kitty makes a very hard choice about what to do about the rank she has been given.  Kitty journey was also very fascinating as she goes from trying to survive to being a formidable player in a dangerous game.  Kitty is a trooper; she’s street smart, persistent and loyal. She has no illusions about the rebellion. She tries to stay alive and save those who she loves. Along the way she discovers that she may be more valuable to the country than she thought.  My only problem with her was that she was a little too trusting in some situations and very quick to believe in others.

The Hart family was a whole bunch of crazy, manipulative individuals who exceeded in backstabbing. The entire family was trying to get one up on one another. So much destruction and corruption all within one family. It’s really interesting to watch their dynamics especially between Celia, Daxton and Augusta. This was one dysfunctional family whose hobby was murdering each other.   

There was not a lot of romance in this book, however the romance that we did get was something I did not particularly enjoy.  Benjy was a standard sort of a love interest.  He was a little boring in my opinion. There was nothing remarkably special about him and Kitty. Their relationship was already in full swing by the time the book starts so I wish we could have seen more of their relationship. Kitty goes to great lengths to protect him but I felt like I didn’t really understand the depth of their relationship.

A good book with dubious characters and unexpected revelations.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 5th November 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Champion, the final book in the Legend trilogy was a thrilling conclusion to a fantastic series. I was very egger to read the last book in the trilogy and I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.  Everything comes full circle as Day and June’s final battle comes to an explosive conclusion. Champion delivers on the action, but it is also filled with emotion making for a bittersweet end. It carries a lot of sadness and change with hope on the horizon. The entire fate of the Republic is changed along with the fate of Day and June.

Champion is full of conflict, between the characters and various nations as the plot explores the Republic and the changes Anden, June and Day have set in motion in Prodigy.  Champion is more a political book than its predecessors as the war between the Colonies and the Republic comes to a head. There is an impending war as June and Day figure out a way to save the Republic whilst fighting their own enemies.  The Patriots return and the fate of Thomas and Commander Jameson hangs in the balance. Marie Lu’s writing packs a punch as she subtly explores love, loyalty and allegiance between her riveting complex characters.  This book has plenty of action. We also get some answers to some of the stunts Day has pulled in the past.

Not only do we the get to see the Colonies and the Republic at war, we also get to see new lands in this dystopian society.  Champion takes us to Antarctica and Ross City. A city, which has a very unique way of life. It was quite fascinating to read about.  It also highlights Lu’s wonderful world building. No nation is the same. The Republic had an oppressive leader, the Colonies were formed on money and propaganda and Antarctica is vastly different in its own right.

I love all the characters. June, Day, Anden, Eden and the others are layered and complex with plenty of depth. Their relationships with each other are always evolving and complicated. To say that Day and June have a complicated relationship is an understatement. They are torn and tormented between their love for each other and their past actions. June as always is a standout for me. I love her calculated, intelligent nature as she tries to save a nation she deeply cares about. I love the relationship she has with her brother. Day suffers quite a bit in this book, especially considering the revelations in Prodigy. He strives to protect his brother and is fierce in his loyalty. Anden was a revelation in Champion. We got to know a lot more about the young Elector. His struggle to keep the Republic in tact was compelling as was his relationship with June.

I absolutely loved the ending of the trilogy. I’ll just say that it was completely fitting. It was an end that I kept thinking about long after I had finished the book. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings and make an impact. Champion was a fantastic emotional end to the Legend trilogy.  If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend you pick it up. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: 20th November 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets to the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder - would they be better off staying in this place forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it. The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

With an immensely compelling tale of romance, survival and hope, These Broken Stars is a book that will stand out and enchant you. It was one of the best books I have had the pleasure of reading this year.  Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner have written an intense story that is equal parts heart breaking, touching and beautiful.  Taking two very different people from very different worlds Spooner and Kaufman have fashioned an emotion filled, heartbreaking romantic story. It’s a books you won’t be able to stop thinking about long after you read it. These Broken Stars will make you fall in love with its world and characters before completing shattering your heart into a million pieces, then putting it back together piece by piece. I was completely enthralled and engrossed. Lilac and Tarver will leave a mark as they tell you their story of survival.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver is a solider. When their ship crash-lands on an unknown planet, Tarver and Lilac need to find a way to get a long and survive until they are rescued.  Survival is not their only issue as the planet holds secrets that might change everything.  I love the universe that was created right from all the people to the technology and life in space.  The world building of this story felt very real, right from the environment, animals, and weather. The writing was beautiful, sharp and laced with humour and wit. It painted a very vivid picture about the world right from the technology, planet, and people.

Between each chapter were interrogation scenes. They served as a perfect backdrop to the story stirring curiosity and foreshadowed what to expect in the upcoming pages.  The real standout aspects of this book are its characters. Tarver and Lilac are complicated, layered individuals that have their own share of insecurities, fears and desires.  Their journey together changes them, challenges them and tests them as they are confronted by their own daemons, past shadows and hope for the future.  I loved how much Tarver and Lilac change throughout their journey, they subtly become stronger as they learn to accept each other and themselves. Especially Lilac who goes from a girl who is unaccustomed to harsh circumstances to one who learns not only about her inner strength but the strength to step out of her fathers shadow and be her own person. I love her tenacity and willingingness to protect Tarver. Tarver was a solider and he slowly learns to believe in the things beyond his control.  

The sacrifices these two make for each other is completely shattering. You can clearly see them falling in love and their walls coming down as they grow closer, find common grown and overcome their misconceptions. The romance was so potent and sweet and filled with the best kind of chemistry. They pushed each other buttons and their banter was delightful. When a certain scene takes place my heart was completely wrecked. I was entirely caught up in this story. These Broken Stars completely holds your attention from the first page. It holds your attention right from the first page.  However Lilac and Tarver didn’t seem like they were just 17 and 18. Their voices felt older, as if they were in their early 20’s. I think most of that had to the society they were raised in.

As soon as I got to the end of These Broken Stars I was disappointed because I wanted more. I’m not ready to let go of Tarver and Lilac. I would love to know what happens next for them. This was also a story that I felt like reading again the minute I put it down. I can’t wait to see what Amie and Megan write next because I’m sure it will be out of this world. An incredible read.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #18

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
I felt like a bit of a change, so at the moment I am reading A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. I been hearing great things about her books so I decided to pick one up. So far I'm really enjoying it.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just recently finished reading Pawn by Aimee Carter. It was a good book with really neat twists, however at times it felt a little over the top. I also finished Champion by Marie Lu which was a bitter sweet end to the Legend trilogy.

What do you think you'll read next?
I not too sure what to read next. I might pick up Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron or The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Traitor
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 1st  November 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as normal as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for; his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, normal simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all

Kierran, Kierran, Kierran. What are we to do with you? The Iron Traitor was a heartbreaking, game-changing book that impacts every character, especially Kierran and Ethan. Their story just got more complicated. Julie Kagawa might be the Queen of Cliff-hangers because this book sure serves up a dozy.  When you get to the end of this book, you will want to shout and count down the days until the next book comes out. The title is very indicative of the story as we explore Kierran’s decent into the dark. This book stirs feelings of unease. Feelings which multiple and grow, only to cumulate in a heartbreaking conclusion. This Iron Fey story sure does deliver, however it is not as good as The Lost Prince.

The land of the Fey is lavish and rich and always full of surprises and surreal landscapes. Kagawa balances myth, action and emotion perfectly to create characters and a story worth investing both time and emotions in. The action is superb. I love how martial arts and sword fighting go hand and hand with this series.  There is so much beautiful detail woven into the land of the Fey. Just in this book alone, there are ancient creatures, a goblin market, very thin assassins and one pissed of summer queen. Kagawa’s writing is effortless to read and immediately pulls you back into the world of the Fey. This time around Ethan is pulled back into the land of the fey to find Kierran who has gone missing. Assisted by Kenzie and Kierran’s beloved Annywl, Ethan sets out to help the Iron Prince, only to find out that sometimes the price is too high. This book is all about consequences and the lengths that someone will go to for love. The price for love comes at a cost that might just be too high for either Ethan or Kierran to pay.  Off course Ash, Grim, Puck and Megan are always around to lend a helping hand.

Character growth is abundant In the Iron Traitor. The Lost Prince has affected how characters behave. It has also changed their motivations, especially Kierrans. In this book you can see quite clearly see how the characters have changed and how they will continue to evolve.  Ethan, who once swore to never have anything to do with the Fey, is slowly coming to accept his place among them. He now knows he can’t ignore them. He is learning how to cope with having them in his life. Ethan is also learning to deal with unresolved issues with his sister.  He’s very loyal towards his family and goes to great lengths to help his nephew.  We get to learn more about Kenzi’s family.  Kenzie is intelligent, wise and a force to be reckoned with. She never backs down from a fight and always supports her friends. Once she sets her mind to something she never backs down.  Her relationship with Ethan has some ups and downs as these two navigate their complicated relationship. Kierran is the person you want to shake and yell at. You can see the desperation in his actions. You can slowly see the small steps he takes towards his downfall as he digs himself into a massive hole. Even though Kierran invokes a lot of anger, his actions still elicit sympathy as he is placed in a tough situation.

The cliffghanger will change everything.  I can’t wait for the next instalment.  An emotional book that is a must read for all Iron Fey fans.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Monthly Wrap Up - November 2013

November is over and that means that Christmas is just around the corner. I can't believe 2013 is nearly over. Where has all the time gone?

Book of the Month:

My book of the month is The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. This book was wonderful surprise. A mix of Harry Potter and She's the Man. I definitely recommend this magical tale that is rich and intricate.

Books Reviewed in the Month of November:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Mirage by Clive Cussler
Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London
Perfect Ruin  by Lauren DeStefano
One & Only by Viv Daniels
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White