Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Forever Mars

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to T A Uner for giving me this book to review.

Forever Mars is an enjoyable sci-fi story which is faced paced. It is predictable but also action packed. There is more world building in this novel compared to the previous ones but I would like it if there was more.

Liberty has good instincts and will do anything to fight for justice. Lok is a new character and he is likeable as he is trying to understand humanity and friendship. However, I am bored with Slow Fly as the baddie now, as I know that Liberty and MCPF will beat him, and I hope in the next book there will be a new villain.


I liked this book and am looking forward to reading the next book. I would recommend Forever Mars to fans of the first two Mindcop Dossiers books.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Fairy Queens: Books 5-7

*****
5 Stars/5


OF SAND AND STORM
Of Sand and Storm is the very good 3rd novella in the Fairy Queens series and like the others it is fast paced, well written and has good world building. However this is the darkest of the books as it deals with difficult issues such as slavery and sex trafficking. I would suggest you don’t read this story until you have read the previous books otherwise it could be confusing. One thing which lets this story down is that it had insta-love which I am not a fan of, and I got the impression from Winter’s Heir that Cinder would not have a love interest.

Cinder is determined, protective and like all of Amber’s protagonists she has strong inner strength. However, she is the most damaged of the heroines with a coping mechanism in numbers, and not surprisingly Cinder is not very trusting. The love interest, Darsam, pretends to be flippant and cocky but is actually selfless, kind and gentle. Ash and Storm would do anything to protect Cinder and want her to have a better life than they did.

I love this series and I am looking forward to reading what Amber writes next. I would highly recommend the Fairy Queens series to fans of YA fantasy novels, especially to those who like Maria V Snyder and Trudi Canavan’s books.

DAUGHTER OF WINTER
All Elice has ever known is the never-ending isolation of the Winter Queendom. She has no company apart from her immediate family, including her mother, the Winter Queen, and the animals that she heals, but all that changes when a ship crashes and she rescues the lone survivor, Adar. Elice wants the freedom to see the rest of the world but when she discovers that the world is in more turmoil than she ever knew, will she be able to escape her mother?

Daughter of Winter is the brilliant and magnificent third book of the Fairy Queens series. It is very addictive and it pulled me into the story. Also, it has some action and a hinted at romance. Unlike the other books in this series the POV is from both Elice and Adar rather than just the heroine. One tiny problem with this book is that I was confused about the timeline and how people are the ages they were.

Elice is resilient, creative and innocent because she has been sheltered all of her life. She also reminded me a bit of Senna from Amber’s Witch Song series. Adar is cocky, talkative and easy-going but also protective and a bit mysterious. I was sad to see how different Ilyenna is and how cold and distant she has become.

I love this series and I am really looking forward to reading the fourth and final book in the series Winter’s Heir. I would recommend Daughter of Winter to fans those who have read the Fairy Queens series and to those who are fans of YA fantasy books.


WINTER’S HEIR
Winter’s Heir is a fantastic end to one of my favourite series and it ties up all of the loose ends and unanswered questions nicely.  Like with all of Amber’s books it has very good world building and is a fast paced page turner. This book had more romance than Daughter of Winter, and it had a kind of Romeo and Juliet vibe to it.  One thing I love about this series is that the characters are relatable and never give up.

At the first half of the book Elice is less sure of herself and is still very na├»ve but this lessens as the story continues. She is sweet natured,  gentle, empathetic and has an inner strength, like all of Amber’s Heroines, and is determined to gain her independence and freedom. Adar is more serious in this book as he faces very difficult choices and is conflicted about what he should do. However, there is still some of the charming tease there and I felt we got to understand more about him and his life than in the last book. There are lots of returning characters from the previous books, which was interesting to see how they have changed, but also there were some new characters, my favourite being Cinder, and I am looking forward to learning more about her in the last novella.


This book is a brilliant conclusion to the main story of the Fairy Queens series and I am really looking forward to reading the last novella Of Sand and Storm when it comes out. This book hints at future books set in the distant future in this universe which I cannot wait to read. I would recommend Winter’s Heir to fans of the Fairy Queens series, and this series I cannot recommend highly enough to fans of YA fantasy books. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Fairy Queens: Books 1-4

****
5 Stars/5


OF ICE AND SNOW

Otec has always been the overlooked son of an overflowing house. When a young woman, Matka, one of the highmen staying in his village, wants to look for a plant, he is happy to help. When he is away, his home is attacked he must find a way to save his family but can he trust Matka as he is not sure if she is friend or foe. Is Otec willing to become the leader he never thought he would be.

I really enjoyed Of Ice and Snow, the prequel novella to Winter Queen as it tells us of how Ilyenna’s parents met. It is fast paced and full of action and Amber wrote from a male POV well.

I really liked Otec as he feels like he is the useless son who is not good enough, but he is brave, kind and very protective of his family. I liked Matka as she is willing to help people she doesn’t really know but I would have liked some chapters from her POV as it would have helped getting to know her better.

I really liked this prequel novella and I hope to read the rest of Daring Hearts soon. I would recommend Of Ice and Snow to fans of Winter Queen or any of Amber Argyle’s other books.


WINTER QUEEN
After the Shyle and there ally clan Argon are attacked by another clan the Tyron, 17 year old Ilyenna is mortally wounded by the Tyron’s Clan Chief’s son Darrien, but she is healed by the winter fairies and is offered the ability to become the Winter Queen. Unwilling to leave her family she declines this offer only to sacrifice herself as an Tiam, practically a slave, to Darrien to save her clan, along with other women of her and Argon clan and the some of the Argon men, including her brother’s best friend Rone.  While in captivity Darrien tries everything to break her mind, body and soul, however she discovers that the attack was part of a bigger plan to overthrow all the clans. Now Ilyenna has to decide if she is willing to sacrifice her humanity and warmth to become Winter Queen to save her people and those she loves.

Winter Queen is an incredible and magical YA fantasy book which I love by Amber Argyle. Even though this is darker and more grown up than the Witch Song series, it still has all the elements I love in a fantasy book, romance, adventure, magic and a strong heroine.

I really like Ilyenna as she is loyal to her people and no matter what happens to her, she is strong, kind and selfless. All the other characters are well written, even the bad guys, and there are so many characters that I have enjoyed getting to know.  I really like the romance in this book as it is mature but at the same time sweet and tender.

Even through the story did not go the way I thought it would when I read the blurb, it is more unique than I could have imagined especially the fairies as they play a very important part in this book but it is in a subtle way. I like the depth of this book and how the magic worked as the idea of the Balance is such a simple idea but is also very clever and complex.

I am not sure if the next book Summer Queen is a continuation of Ilyenna story or someone else’s from this world, but either way, I cannot wait to see what Argyle will do next and I hope it is released as soon as possible. I would recommend Winter Queen to everyone, but especially to people who like YA fantasy novels such as books by Maria V Snyder or Trudi Canavan.


OF FIRE AND ASH
For all of Nelay life she has seen fairies but her mother has told her that she must not let the fairies know she can see them or Nelay will pay a high price. However, when her father is bitten by a snake, Nelay’s only choice to save him is to turn to the fairies, but they require in that one day she must repay the favour. As all deals with the fairies come with a price, will this change Nelay’s life forever?

Of Fire and Ash is a very good YA fantasy novella, with an interesting look at the back story for Summer Queen. Although it is not a long book, it is enjoyable and a well-rounded story.

I liked Nelay as she was a nice and resistant little girl who was really caring. I did not like her brother, Panar as he was horrible and really jealous, and I think he is going to play a key role in Summer Queen. While I liked Nelay’s parents as they really cared about their children, I don’t believe that they didn’t see how Panar treated Nelay.

I am really looking forward to reading Summer Queen after this, and I would recommend Of Fire and Ash to fans of Amber Argyle, especially those who enjoyed the Fairy Queens series.


SUMMER QUEEN
Nelay never wanted to be queen, she wanted to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, but with an army sweeping towards her family she is willing to risk everything and to manipulate the king to get aid. She sets off on a journey across Idara with a band of tribesmen smugglers, led by the charming Rycus, in the hopes of getting to her parents on time. However, there are bigger powers at play and a deal made years ago will change Nelay’s fate forever. With a war waged between mortals, fairies and goddesses, will Nelay be able to stop Idara being turn to ash.

Summer Queen is the brilliant sequel to Winter Queen as there was action, adventure, romance and magic. There was never a dull moment in the book and I did not want to put it down, but I also never got overwhelmed with too much info either. While you don’t need to read Winter Queen to enjoy this book, I would recommend it as it is adds to the story, I would also recommend reading the prequel short story to this Of Fire and Ash as it gives a good insight into Nelay and her past.

I really loved Nelay’s character as she was brave, determined and willing do anything for those she cares about, even if they don’t deserve it. I also liked that she was intelligent and was never timid, while her character grew in this book she always knew she was capable. I also really liked Rycus as he was protective and balanced Nelay really well, plus I do have a soft spot for storytellers. Another character I liked was Nelay’s best friend Jezzel but I did wish she was in this book more than she was.

This is an amazing book and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the Fairy Queens series, Daughter of Winter. I would recommend Summer Queen to fans of the First Book Winter Queen and the Fairy Queens series, plus Ambers other books, to all fans of YA fantasy novels.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Withering Rose

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Xpresso Book Tours for giving me this book to review.

Withering Rose is the very enjoyable sequel to Gathering Frost, which is a unique twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. This story is fast paced, has good world building and an easy read. Also there is romance and a nice fairy-tale story.

Omorose is quiet and timid which makes her an unusual YA heroine, but she is also caring and kind. To begin with Cole is secretive and has a temper, but he is also sweet and very lonely.


The ending of this book gives clues to what is going to happen in the next book Chasing Midnight and I am looking forward to reading it. I would recommend Withering Rose to those who enjoyed the first book in the Once Upon A Curse series Gathering Frost.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Apprentice in Death

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for giving me this book to review.

It is January 2061 and New York is recovering from the Festive Season, when a mysterious sniper starts a killing spree.  Are the victims as random as they seem or is there method in the madness?  Lt Eve Dallas is the primary investigator with the NYPSD. How will she and her team be able to find a killer who can strike from miles away?

I enjoyed this book, which is the 43rd in the series because it goes back to the tried and trusted format of knowing who the killer is from an early stage, but the challenge is in trying to find and capture them.  As usual, the Eve Dallas and Rourke books have fast paced action, interspersed with logic, and some quite spicy bits.  While it is set in the future, it is in a world which you can imagine progressing from ours, which is not too dissimilar to the present, but with some very cool gadgets.

Eve Dallas is, as usual, focussed and intense, her husband, Rourke, is too good to be true, but I always enjoy reading about her NYPSD partner, Delia Peabody. She is such a grounded character, who, whilst dedicated to her job, also has everyday gripes and worries, such as the size of her butt, or whether she can afford those shoes! 


As usual, I enjoyed Apprentice in Death as J D Robb’s recent “in Death” books have been quite political or with lots of twists and turns, and this was a welcome return to the more “outthinking the bad guy” type cop book.  I would recommend Apprentice in Death to any readers of other J D Robb novels, people who enjoy reading Nora Roberts (same author, different pen-name), or people who enjoy good crime novels.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Nexis

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for giving this book to review.
                                 
Nexis is a really enjoyable sci-fi/dystopian novel which has lots of action, romance, mystery and a few twists. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat as it is fast paced especially once Ella has started her quest in Nexis. I loved the idea of Nexis and part of me would love for it to be real.

Ella has a hard time in this book as she is depressed and confused, and she is an outsider who does not fit in. However, she is also resilient and intelligent. Gus is confident, cocky and charismatic, and he is caring towards Ella and they have a real chemistry. However, he might have an ulterior motive and I could not tell who he was in the real world. I felt that the side characters could be more developed as the only one got to know is Meems.


I found the ending rushed and confusing but I am looking forward to reading the next book Redux. I would recommend Nexis to people who enjoyed Of Beauty and Beast by Stacey Jay and The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Goldenfire

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for giving this book to review.

Goldenfire is a really good sequel set a couple years after Darkhaven, which left me on the edge of my seat as there was so much going on, lots of POV and a real page turner. There is action, romance and well written three dimensional characters with their own strength and flaws. I found the alchemy in this story interesting. However, while there were a lot of twists I guessed the assassin much easier than I did the mystery in the previous books.

Ayla is more confident in this book but does keep judging herself compared to her father and his rule, and she therefore has to shoulder a lot of the responsibility of ruling. Tomas is still loyal and determined but we also see him as a clever leader even though he does not see this as he has lots of insecurities about himself. I really like how mature and realistic Ayla and Tomas relationship is and shows they love each other while they still argue.

There are so many characters in this book, with people from the last book, Elisse and Sorrow, as well as the new Helm recruits like Ree, Zander and Penn. I was annoyed with Serenna’s character as in the last book she was willing to consider leaving being a priestess for Myrren but not for her own child, I felt that really did not fit her character.


I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to more novels in this world. I would recommend Goldenfire to fans of the first book Darkhaven.