The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

darkheroine
Title: Dinner with a Vampire
Author: Abigail Gibbs
Series: The Dark Heroine #1
Edition: Paperback, 549 pages
Publication Details: October 11th 2012 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it second hand.

Goodreads // Purchase

One moment can change your life forever…

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape…no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…

Review

It’s been quite a while since I read a vampire book, the last one was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – which was A-Mazing – so Dinner with a Vampire had a tough act to follow and while it didn’t even come close, it was entertaining!

On a night out Violet Lee gets separated from her friends and witnesses mass murder on Trafalgar Square. It doesn’t take long for Violet to figure out that the murderers are not altogether normal. They’re fast and strong, and dress a bit odd, and of course they can’t let her go because she’s seen too much – you know the deal.

She is basically captured and given the choice to become one of them or become their food…

It’s not the most original plot, let’s face it, but to say it’s only about that would be an injustice, there is quite a lot of other, interesting stuff, going on as well.

I was really torn with this book to be honest. I couldn’t stop reading, but so many things infuriated me along the way. Violet is this feisty, smart-mouthed girl, who doesn’t seem to care a great deal that she’s being imprisoned by vampires, or that she’s away from her sister who is suffering with cancer. It made it hard to warm to her.

One of the first things she does after she’s captured is steal all of Kaspar’s (the vampire prince) condoms because she’s sick of hearing him have sex every night. It was obviously supposed to show her feisty side and the first signs of jealously or something, but it was just a bit odd, and felt quite juvenile in terms of plotlines.

This is also a book in which things don’t quite ring true at the time, and you just think the author is a bit crazy, but eventually it does all come together and make sense. I applaud Gibbs for doing that well, it was one of the reasons I couldn’t stop reading but it was so frustrating.

I found Gibb’s writing a bit hit and miss too. She sets the scene very well, and I loved the descriptions of the vampires and the hunters at the beginning, but it definitely got a bit muddled in places, mainly because of the alternating points of view. I really didn’t think we we needed Kaspar’s narration!

However, I liked the whole prophecy thing, and the romance was pretty hot, apart from a major anti-climax towards the end – I mean, I won’t give away spoilers but just know that something really pissed me off!

Meh, I don’t know if I’ll read the next one…maybe if I find it in a charity shop like I did this one.

unicorn rating 3

Advertisements

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

sept1
Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Edition: Paperback, 562 pages
Publication Details: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.

Review

I don’t know what it is about this series. I love it at the time of reading, but then I fall out of love with the idea of it and I struggle to find the motivation to pick up the next book. That’s what happened with Heir of Fire.

I bought a copy not long after its release but it took me this long to pick it up. And even when I finally did, I couldn’t get into it at all! I was pretty close to giving up on the series altogether to be honest…but then I got hooked again. Ugh make up your mind, Woman!

I think I only fell in love with this book about half way through, but then I didn’t want to put it down.

In this, the third instalment of the Throne of Glass series, Celaena Sardothian, the once all-powerful, all-confident assassin is a broken woman. She’s walking the streets in a booze-induced stupor, almost starving, getting into fights and losing most, because her strength has all but gone.

She doesn’t seem to have any direction, and although I found it interesting to see this fall from grace, it was all a bit dull to start with. Until, that is, she meets Rowan.

Rowan, a prince of fae is ordered to train Celaena to control her fae powers so she can once again fight against those who plan on enslaving her and her people. Of course, she’s reluctant at first, tired of fighting for other people, but it’s not long until the fire in her is ignited, and with the help of brutal Rowan, Celaena slowly becomes herself again.

I’m not gonna lie, for a lot of this book I didn’t really know what was going on. I kind of skimmed the beginning because I couldn’t get into it and then when I got to the good stuff I was confused. But I couldn’t go back, because I couldn’t tear myself away.

I loved how the relationship between Rowan and Celaena developed and as much as I wanted them to get in on – he is clearly mega hawtttt – I’m glad that instead their friendship became solid and trustworthy. I felt like Celaena really needed that instead of another romance. It was refreshing.

There were a lot of things I didn’t like about this book, for example, I had no idea what the witch-clan chapters were all about, and I found myself skipping some of them but they are pretty terrifying characters and make great villains so I’m hoping it’ll be explored better in the next book.

Despite everything, I still ended up loving this book. I can’t really explain it. I think I’m just destined to have a love/hate relationship with this series.

As it stands, I can’t wait until the next book, but by the time it comes around, I’ll probably feel differently. Sigh!

unicorn rating 4

Heir of Fire is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Anyone Can Betray Anyone: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

redqueen
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Edition: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: February 10th 2015 by Orion / Feb 12th 2015 (paperback)
Genre(s): YA, Dystopia; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Review

OMG THIS BOOK!

I’d gone through a whole array of feelings about this book before I even picked it up. Firstly, from the cover alone I was so taken with it I couldn’t wait to read it. Then I started seeing it described as The Hunger Games meets The Selection via X-men, and my mind was blown. BLOWN.

But then, the hype just went a bit mad. It was all over the blogosphere and while I tired to avoid most of the reviews, I started to doubt my first thoughts and wondered if this was just another Hunger Games wannabe; all hype and no substance….

Thankfully, I was wrong. Red Queen, whilst having some flaws, ended up completely surpassing my expectations. And it made me want to throw it across the room (yet another downside to the e-book!), in the best possible way.

In Victoria Aveyard’s take on a dystopian future, there are two classes. The Redbloods, the lowly commoners who do all the physical and menial jobs, and are conscripted to fight in the war, and the Silverbloods, the ruling class, who all have different powers such as the ability to manipulate fire, water or metal – much like the X-MEN (which I LOVE).

I really loved this world. When you break it down it isn’t anything new, but the combination of ideas from other worlds made it original in its own way. It was a little bit Noughts & Crosses (Malorie Blackman) as well as being understandably likened to The Selection and THG.

Mare isn’t talented, unless you count stealing. She doesn’t have a skill like her sister does so she’s destined for a future in the army, just like her brothers and her best friend Kilorn. She hates the Silverbloods as much as anyone for taking them away. But one night she tries to steal from the wrong person – a handsome cloaked stranger – who listens to her story and can offer her a better life.

The stranger… is Cal, the prince and heir to the throne, and Mare finds herself with a job at the palace. But this isn’t any ordinary palace. It just so happens that Mare has arrived in time for the Queenstrial, where silver nobles will fight it out (with their powers) in the arena, for the princes hands in marriage (oh yes, there’s two of them to swoon over!).

Without giving away any massive spoilers all I’ll say is that somehow, Mare finds herself engaged to a prince, disguised with silver dust and the constant threat of execution hanging over her head.

INTENSE!

I seriously couldn’t put this down. The action was good, the whole on-off love/hate romance thing was pretty hot and man, it was just so good. HOWEVER, there were so many things that didn’t make sense. A few of them did by the end, but there were some definite annoying plot holes.

For example, there wasn’t really any need for the noble Silverbloods to train in the arena every day. They use the Reds to fight on the front line, so why do they need to train, and compete against each other so much? I felt like this was just an easy way to get more action into the plot and be a bit more Hunger Games-esque. It was a bit gratuitous.

Also, they change Mare’s identity (making her a Silver Noble) and swear her to a life of secrecy, but it’s not like no one will notice her – she is filmed on a few occasions – which is shown in the Red villages… and they make her fight in the arena, where blood is often spilled, so how do they expect her to not be exposed? ARGH!

Another huge thing which got my goat is that the Queen(the big baddy)’s power is mind manipulation. She can get into your mind and see all of your memories and thoughts, not to mention make you do anything she wants, and yet Mare and others are planning a rebellion under her very nose – errrr how!!!?

And while we’re talking about war and rebellion, I don’t think we’re ever even told why the war began. Something was mentioned about the Lowlanders being the ones they’re fighting against but that’s about it. Maybe this will be explored more in the next book, who knows.

But anyway, I need to breathe.

All of these things added to my enjoyment of the book, because y’know PURE GOLD in ranting material. I was really tempted to give this ALL THE UNICORNS, but the only reason I didn’t is because I predicted a major twist from quite early on. I need to stop thinking so much!

unicorn rating 4

Red Queen is available to preorder from Waterstones now, and the paperback is due to be released Feb 12th.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

ng2
Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 336 pages
Publication Details: January 13th 2015 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Review

YES! This is what I’ve been waiting for by Holly Black.

Since absolutely loving The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I knew I needed to read more by her. I had planned on reading her back catalogue but you know how it is…so little time. Therefore, I was pretty thrilled when I got approved for an advanced copy of this one. And rightly so!

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a fairy book with bite. It reads like a deliciously dark classic fairy tale, but it’s thoroughly modern too.

In the small town of Fairfold, humans go about their days like any average community, but there’s just one difference, faeries also exist. On the whole, faeries have come to be accepted and their magic is seen as harmless. However, many people in Fairfold continue to abide by certain rules and superstitions in order to make them immune to their magic, making you raise an eyebrow as to whether they are as harmless as everyone thinks they are.

The town has an interesting history to say the least. And at the centre of it all, is the horned boy who sleeps in the glass coffin in the middle of the forest. He’s been there for as long as anyone remembers and he never wakes up, or ages.

Protagonists Hazel and Ben have fawned over the horned boy since they were little, naming him their Prince, they both dream of kissing him and they long for him to wake up.

But then he does…. and Hazel and Ben’s lives soon start to unravel. Can they protect themselves and save their Prince, or will their secrets come between them and destroy everything ?

To show your regard, you give each other other lovely bouquets of lies.”

I’m finding it so hard to review this book, which is always a sign that I loved it! There are just so many things I liked about it, it’s hard to put into words.

For starters, I found the writing style beautiful. It’s one of those books where I just wanted to highlight passage after passage. It was honest and heartbreaking, and magical all at once.

Hazel never cried. She was forged from iron, she never broke. No one was tougher than his sister. The worst part was how quietly she wept, as if she’d taught herself how, as if she was so used to doing it that it had just become the way she cried.”

Hazel and Ben really stand out as great protagonists for me. I loved how close they were but that they had so many secrets from each other which twisted and tainted their lives. I loved that they were both in love with the horned boy, and that there was never any hoohaah about Ben being a young gay character – which is exactly how it should be – but you still rarely get gay characters in stories without their sexuality being a big issue, or the driving force of the plot.

I was blown away by how Holly Black built this world of fae but made it so modern. It felt like such a perfect juxtaposition, something I haven’t seen pulled off so well before. For example, she uses age-old folklore such as the residents of Fairfold filling their pockets with iron and oats to protect them from faery magic and in the same breath, the horned boy attracts tourists wanting to take selfies with him.

I loved that Hazel was a Knight. I loved that the kids of Fairfold seemed so normal despite living amongst faeries. I mean, they get wasted  and dance around (and on top) of the the horned boy’s coffin… so much to love.

I can’t even get started on the romances. Seriously. I’ll just stop now.

The only reason I’ve given it 4 unicorns instead of 5 is because it took me quite a few chapters to get into it. But that’s the only tiny grumble I have.

unicorn rating 4Available now in hardback!

WWW Wednesday! 09.04.14

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

We’ve made it to another Wednesday, hurrah! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

wwwcoll

Currently Reading: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett. Early days yet. It’s definitely taking a bit of getting into but it’s going to be either amazingly epic, or awful. Plus, I also started The Selection Stories which is kind of distracting. Oh Maxon!

Recently Finished: I finished The False Prince which I really liked despite having some issues with it (review here) and Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead which was great but not as great as the first one. Review will be up in the next day or so.

Up Next: Battle of the sequels continues – Either Insurgent or Scarlet. Uber excited about both. On verge of Fangirling.

Let me know what you’re reading, or leave a link to your post and I’ll come and take a look 🙂

A Predictable Prince is still a Page-Turning Prince…

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

9e7b1-button

I can’t believe that this is THE FIRST book I’ve read from my TBR pile for this challenge. I was excluding all the new books I got around Christmas and New Year time because the whole point was to read the older books on my pile….and it’s taken this long to get round to them. And still, this was one of the newer ones, but shhh.

false In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

This is one of those books that does exactly what it says on the tin, or cover in this instance. Sage is one of four boys that nobleman Conner forces to compete against each other for the ‘prize’ of impersonating Prince Jaron – who was believed to have been killed by pirates several years earlier – in an attempt to save the Kingdom from war.

I was really excited about this book; it looked right up my alley, princes, castles, sword-fights, cute boys etc… and I loved it for all of these things, plus, it was fast-paced and I enjoyed the characters, but, I couldn’t help coming away from it disappointed.

I had too many issues with it to give it any more than 3 Unicorns, despite the fact that I couldn’t put it down and am very much looking forward to the next book in the series…

Issue #1: It was just sooooooooooo predictable. I’m not one of those people who thinks about where a book is going when I’m reading it. I like to be swept away in the story, and therefore I don’t usually detect what will happen next, or how it will end up, but it was impossible not to with this book. I could have told you exactly what was going to happen after about 50 pages.

Issue #2: I found some of the vital plot-lines pretty unbelievable. There was no way that Conner’s plan was ever going to work, which was proven by the end of the book, highlighting how stupid it was in the first place. Plus, there’s no way the four boys would be that compliant, sure Conner had threatened to kill those that didn’t win, but they had plenty of opportunities to escape. And if they stayed because they really wanted to be King, they seemed to think they could go from being being poor orphans to kings without anybody rising an eyebrow. Bizarre. And don’t even get me started on Conner having them serve the princess in disguise, in case she recognised them when one of them eventually became King….no sense!

Issue # 3: Who the hell is Conner anyway, and why take it upon himself to stage this whole thing? Arrghhhh.

I did like that we weren’t sure if Conner was essentially a good guy or bad guy though. Was he really doing this for the good of the kingdom, or is he a tyrant who will do anything to be in control, even if he’d be the invisible puppet-master behind ‘the face’ of the King?

Sage was a good protagonist too. I liked his sarcastic nature and sharp wit. His bromance with Mott, and growing relationship with servant Imogen (the whole fake mute thing was unconvincing though) definitely kept me reading. I just wished there was more depth, and mystery to the story.

But I guess I’ll have to read the next one to see if Nielsen was holding out on us. Plus, look how pretty it is!

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: The False Prince (The Ascendence Trilogy #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Details: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: June 7th 2012 by Scholastic UK
My Rating: 3/5 (3.5!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Make You SWOON

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week. This week the topic is supposed to be Top Ten Reasons you love reading or blogging but I missed last week’s as I was gallivanting around Iceland and I really wanted to do that topic! So here are my Top Ten Books to make you swoon.

ttt1

1. Twilight: I can’t help it OK. Edward Cullen is totally hot and I will spend the rest of my life trying to get the image of Robert Pattinson out of my head. YOU ARE NOT EDWARD CULLEN.

2. Vampire Academy: Vampires are clearly going to feature quite heavily in this list. It’s an affliction. I read this for the first time recently and Dimitri definitely has the potential to be my new book boyfriend. And Rose can be my book girlfriend too. I am THAT greedy. Double swoon

3. Graceling: Katsa and Po are one of my favourite book couple ever. So many things about their relationship made me swoon. And who doesn’t love a Prince??

4. The Selection: I am firmly Team Maxon. I would be fighting for my place to be his one. And see above RE: Prince.

5. Morganville Vampires: It’s been a long time since I read these books, I got up to number 8 and lost interest a bit but I loved Claire and Shane’s romance in the earlier books. Michael, the guitar playing vampire is pretty swoon-worthy too.

ttt2

6.Throne of Glass: Celaena Sardothien is proper hot so she obviously has her pick of guys including Prince Dorian (yes another Prince – are you sensing another theme here?) and royal guard Chaol. I’m rooting for Dorian, obvs.

7. Sunshine: Con isn’t a cuddly, sparkly vampire, but man he’s really hot. The sexual tension between him and the eponomous protagonist is hawwwwwwt.

8. TMI: Jace, Simon, Malec, Isabelle….need I say more!?

9. Divergent: Tris and Four’s antics had me swooning quite a bit. The hot make-out scene on the train for one.

10. The Hunger Games: GALE. JUST GALE OK.