Tuesday, 21 February 2017

REVIEW - THE MARKED - KNIGHT'S ACADEMY BY EMERALD BARNES

Title: The Marked
Series: Knight's Academy
Author: Emerald Barnes
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Vampires
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Cover Art: Cora Graphics
Release Date: 10th January 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she's offered a full scholarship to Knight's Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennes-see, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
As I have reviewed other titles by this author and really enjoyed them I was quick to jump at the chance to read and review this book. After reading the blurb I was interested to know more about both it's characters and the direction the plot would go in too.

The pace of this book is a medium pace, which I liked a lot and became almost immediately captured my attention and held it throughout the book. I really enjoyed the direction of the plot. I found characters that I became quite quickly attached to, had empathy with, and I found I really cared about what would happen to them. Of course for every great character that you love you also have one you dislike, but I'll go into that further on in my review.

I love the different blue hue's used on the cover. I'd definitely conclude that the female on the cover holding her books, and wearing the Knight's Academy Uniform, is Myka, the main female character in this book. There's a full moon in the background as well as a werewolf lurking about in the background, which hint at the paranormal's featured inside. I guess some would count the full moon and werewolf as spoilers but personally they just confirmed I had chosen a book I would enjoy. The building at the very back of the background on the cover is a school/college, Knight's Academy. I adore a great byline, it can be the difference between choosing which book to read first or even be the final thing that pushes me to purchase a book too. The byline on this book say's, "She'd been marked; can she escape a fate worse than death?". So to sum up the cover on this book would certainly make me pick it up from a bookstore shelf, and the combination of cover, byline and blurb would make me put the book in my basket to buy!

The genre's that this book is listed as being, on Goodreads are, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires and I agree the book falls into those. I think both YA, NA, and Adults can read and enjoy this book. As I was reading the book, the Knight's Academy reminded me just a little of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead which is a series that I read and loved.  

This book has a prologue which give's us, the reader some background, and lays the foundations to help us to come to the correct conclusion about one of the male characters. It also gives insight into what looks like a great offer for Myka actually has a hidden ulterior motive. 

The actual book begins on a normal, usual day at school for Myka, she is struggling through her math's lesson, she really doesn't like algebra. Myka would much rather be outside in the fresh air and open spaces, with her sketchbook. So Myka is sat in the hot, humid stuffy classroom dreaming about sitting in the woods with her sketchbook. Then Rachel the freshman who helps out in front office knocks on her classroom door, the very beginning of Myka's life changing beyond recognition! Rachel brings a message that Myka's presence has been requested by Principal Adams. Myka immediately worries about why she is summoned to the Principal's office and Mrs Childress the secretary indicates for her to go straight into the office. Once in the Principal's office Myka notices the two strangers also in the room. Both men are wearing suits, though in totally different ways, creating totally different impressions. The older man, roughly forty has jet black hair, not a hair out of place. His suit is pristine and finished off with a hunter green tie. The man looks eager to be here unlike the younger of the strangers who looks like he doesn't care and he certainly doesn't want to be right there in the room they are in! The younger male looks about 17, so a similar age to Myka. He has dirty blonde hair, rolled up shirt sleeves and a loose hanging hunter green tie. He has bright green eyes that seem to look right into Myka's soul. Myka is so intent on checking out the younger male stranger she imagines kissing his lips and running her fingers through his hair. . . . Myka is brought abruptly back to the present as Principal Adams introduces the men. The older male with the pristine hair and suit is Headmaster Marcus Knight, he looks eager to begin speaking, but the Principal is introducing the younger dirty blonde haired guy now, his name is Milo. . . .Milo Farrar he is one of the students at Headmaster Marcus Knight's school, which is called Knight's Academy. Headmaster MArcus Knight, begins to explain that her Prinicipal has told him about Myka's love of art. then Marcus Knight asks Myka what she would say if he offered her a full scholarship at the Knight's Academy. Myka doesn't immediately say yes, she has the sense to question the offer, noticing that Milo has the faintest smirk on his lips as she does so. Headmaster Knight explains that they make a point to search out students with excellent grade and amazing skills. By the way Marcus Knight stresses the word skills, Myka is in no doubt that her grades alone have not secured this generous offer. Myka has never heard of Knight's Academy before today, but knows private schools are normally very good. Myka enquires about the Knight's Academy art program, Headmaster Marcus Knight assures her it is a marvelous program and equally marvelous offer, but he goes on to say she should come on a tour of the school with her parents. Hmm, her parents are another great reason to accept the scholarship offer, it would mean much less expense for her adoptive parents Jill and Barry Williams.
The next Chapter begins two months after the Knight's Academy tour. Myka is being dropped off at her new school, she had thought she was ready and it was not a big deal until the car stopped in front of the dorm building.  Jill and Barry help Myka move her things into her dorm room, and meet dorm mother Ms Carolyn Peters, who reassures Jill and Barry that she is always available to all the girls at anytime of the day or night. Myka soon settles in with room mate Olivia. They meet some older girls who are in their second year at the Knights Academy, they befriend them, telling them what happens next, the welcome assembley, being assigned a guide etc etc.
Myka soon settles in, she has Preston as her guide who seems to be glued to her side and becoming increasingly possessive over her and her time. Initially it seems a nice, friendly thing but soon becomes more irritating and Preston becomes possessive both during classes they have together like Archery to his insistence he walks Myka to classes, or be with her during her free time. It begins to make an already claustrophobic Myka feel as if she is trapped. Preston seems to think he is boyfriend material for Myka. The first efforts by Myka to remove herself from being glued to his side. Myka honestly much prefers the mysterious and moody Milo. Things look like they are going well when he purchases her a gift of something he has seen her admiring, but then he just falls off the radar for a while. Then there's a parents/family weekend and it turns out that Myka's quiet mild mannered adoptive father Barry takes an immediate and quite strong dislike for Preston! In fact at one point Barry tells Myka to use him, and the fact he doesn't like Preston as an excuse to get rid/avoid him! Sadly even that doesn't deter the possessive suitor.
I don't want to go into more detail as I prefer not to reveal spoilers as much as possible. I will say if you loved the Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead I think you'll truly enjoy reading this one too!

Naturally one of my favourite characters is Myka Williams, she is a bit of an outcast, so I guess that's one of the reasons I empathise with her. When given the chance of a free scholarship she has no qualms about acceptiing as she doesn't really have very many friends to leave behind. Myka isn't a fashion enthusiast, preferring to feel comfortable and covered up. Myka especially prefers to hide the strange birthmark she has, that becomes more relevant as the book goes on. In fact Myka doesn't know anything about her life or parents before Jill and Barry adopted her.
I also really liked Olivia, the girl that Myka shared dorm room 4C with. Olivia is the louder, more outwardly confident "Miss Socialiser" friend that Myka needs to help her make friends and settle into the Knight Academy.

My thoughts upon finishing this book were, I want more! When can I read more? Could Milo and Myka ever have an "out in the open" official relationship? What about Luka and Olivia? If it comes down to a war between the human's and vampire's, whose side will the hybrids be on and what about the Knight's Academy staff? Who will dorm mom Ms Carolyn Peters and Teacher at Knights Academy, Mother to Milo,Girlfriend to the headmaster, Ms Farrar, side with in such a war. I am also looking forward to Myka's biological parents being revealed or discussed in the next book too.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

REVIEW - MONSTER ISLAND: AN INCH OF LIGHT - MONSTER ISLAND BY KATIE FRENCH

Title: Monster Island An Inch Of Light
Series: Monster Island
Author: Katie French
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 31st January 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Lucca DiVitas. 
I've been trapped on an island with monsters, and the worst one is a person who plots my death from cameras high in the trees. 
When a helicopter appears in the sky, we fear the worst, but soon realize it's the salvation we've been hoping for. 
Just when I think we're about to escape this insane island, mercenaries shoot us down. 
We survive, but not the pilot or the copter. 
And now the people who tried to kill us are coming. 
Who can save us now?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I hadn't realised this one had actually come out until over a week after its release! Once I found out, I of course had to go purchase it so I could find all those answers to my questions from the other novella's in this series. 

After the ending of Monster Island The Mask, I was eager to find out exactly what had happened as well as it being revealed who had survived, and what state they were in.

The cover continues along with the same theme of the other novella's. This time the letters of the title are in a light green colour. The cover certainly makes the novella instantly recognisable as part of the series.

The genre's that are listed on Goodreads for this novella are Mystery, and Thriller which I think do really fit well. Personally I would also add horror, as there are definitely aspects I would class as that.

So, I am being totally truthful here, this is a really difficult one to review without giving away any spoilers! But I am going to give it a go, apologies for any vagueness. This novella's keeps you glued to it! You will not want to put it down. I didn't. I read it in one sitting, before I had even added the fact I was reading to Goodreads, until I had finished it lol! After all the suspense, building up gradually from Monster Island Taken right up until this novella. 
We find out whose idea it was to kidnap the children and take them to "monster island" and why they did it. I was somewhat shocked as to who had kidnapped Lucca though, I hadn't really contemplated that it could be who it turns out to have done the deed.
The very existence of the Island and what scientific experiments have taken place there is quite shocking! We meet more of the adults in this book, but to be honest I think it is the teenagers all the way through this series that have behaved in a more adult than the actual adult characters themselves.

I'd have to say from the first book Lucca has been the character that has been my favourite! He continues to be a strong character, and still exhibits a fierce protectiveness towards Kat and her younger sister Joslyn whom he has only known since they met on this awful island.
The character that probably shocked me and I would have to say was my least favourite teen character, was Jade. We don't really know why she is like she is towards the other teenagers. Jade is a character that puts herself and her safety first. The reason she was on the Island was not really fully disclosed, neither was her fathers demise, and reasons for it.
The other character that works so well is Vito, Lucca's father. Vito is easily led, in financial trouble so easily blackmailed and made to toe the line by the person controlling the Island and it's horrific experiments. Sadly Lucca learns a lot of un-savoury things about his father, but being the forgiving young man that he is doesn't shun his father when he has the opportunity to do so, even though he continually lets his son down. 

I thinks that's all I can really say about this novella without giving away spoilers. I have enjoyed the series. I wonder is Katie will put the novella's together into a box set maybe. They are definitely worth reading! The ending is good, I'm not sure it was how I saw it all ending. There is also the addition of an Epilogue which was interesting to read, but I also felt I wanted updates on all the teenagers, and the adults that featured too. For me things were not explained enough about Jade. . . mind you could that mean there is more to come? Has the horrifying person at the helm of everything that was happening and being created at the Island really been stopped. . . .could that person have escaped or maybe that person had other colleagues/investors/friends who will want to continue the experiments? 
Having mentioned those question it is also feasible that the book just end with the epilogue which gives the series a fairly good ending.

Monday, 13 February 2017

REVIEW - THE GIRL IN THE WILDERNESS - LEAH KING SERIES BY PHILIP HARRIS

L
Title: The Girl In The Wilderness
Series: The Leah King Series
Author: Philip Harris
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 2nd October 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Now that she’s alone, Leah has nothing left to lose…

Leah feels almost nothing now that her father is dead. When she sees the Transport Authority destroy another village, she remains cold as she flees back into the wilderness. Her only thoughts are survival and revenge, but the latter takes hold as she learns a secret about her father’s killer that changes everything… 

To avoid capture, Leah must work with TRACE, Transport’s sworn terrorist enemy. While she’s resistant to picking a side, she finds a kindred spirit in a battle-weary operative. As the attacks grow more and more frequent, Leah will need to make a choice: fight for a worthy cause or lose herself in a mindless quest for revenge…


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I was looking forward to reading more of Leah's story so was eager to read this when I saw it was available. I enjoyed reading this book, though not quite as much as the first book, The Girl In The City. This book picks right up where the other ended. . .Leah watching the city burn. She see's a boy escape the flames only to be shot by the transport soldiers.
The cover shows the outline silhouette of Leah with the forest trees being featured as part of the scene too. I think this cover fits in with the cover of Girl In The City. . .though the colours on this books cover are darker which fit well with the darkness and danger all around from the transport soldiers.
The genre obviously falls into the same Sci-Fi, dystopian area but the post apocalyptic parts of the book are more abundant in this book. In that we as readers experience the wastelands that Leah is forced to navigate to keep away from the corrupt, tyrannical transport organisation and its soldiers. We also see a more flattering side of TRACE, they are seen more as the saviours and freedom fighters, than being the ones causing the trouble in this book. We also learn more and meet some of the "wild ones" in this second book/novella. Leah is terrified when she is "captured" by them. Imagining and reliving in her mind all the horror stories she has heard about them. So we as readers see a different side of the "wild ones" too.
Leah still remains a favourite character for me, not just as she is the main character of the book/novella. We as the reader learn what is the truth and what the government/transport have fabricated at the same time as Leah does. 
In this book Leah also contemplates both whether it would have been easier to have just died along with her father, she also realises that if she hadn't seen the destruction with her own eyes that she too would have been easily fooled by the government. . and believed TRACE were responsible for the carnage.
When Leah meets Alice and finally trusts her enough to talk to her she finds out she is "different". Leah doesn't have either B.I.C.E or Trid. People irritate her repeatedly asking Leah if she is Amish. Leah has no idea how it has happened that she has neither device implanted. Later in the book Leah attempts to access records to find out why she did not have a Trid or B.I.C.E implant. Through Alice, Leah gets to meet TRACE, though initially rejects becoming one of them, preferring to go off alone on her own agenda.
Leah also comes across Katherine again in this book along with the woman she saw order New Leighton to be burnt down to the ground. Does Katherine give away who Leah is? 
Leah also meets people that belong to/with "the wild ones".  She is captured by "the wild ones" and is treated roughly, her arms bound then dragged along, making her feel like her arms are coming out of the sockets. Naturally after all the horror stories she has heard she is petrified that they are going to eat her!
I did enjoy this installment of Leah's story, there was certainly more characters to meet and plenty of action scenes. It has made me want to learn even more about Leah. If this novella answered a few questions raised from the first novella, it also has you asking even more!
If you read the first novella you really need to read this one too. I am finding The Leah King Series highly addictive reading. So looking forward to reading more!




Monday, 6 February 2017

REVIEW - PRELUDE TO MAYHEM - MAYHEM WAVE BY EDWARD AUBRY

Title: Prelude To Mayhem
Series: Mayhem Wave
Author: Edward Aubry
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian,Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: 28th November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
On May 30, 2004, the world transformed. Nearly all signs of civilization vanished, leaving in their wake a bizarre landscape of wilderness, advanced technology and magic, and leaving Harrison Cody very much alone. After weeks of surviving in solitude, he hears a voice on the radio, beckoning him to cross a thousand miles of terrifyingly random terrain to meet her, and any other survivors, in Chicago. Eager to find any remnants of humanity, he sets forth, joined by an unexpected—and inhuman—companion.

For Dorothy O’Neill, the end of the world means she will never finish ninth grade. On her own, she builds a home in the ruins of a strip mall, relying on her ingenuity and hard work to maintain some semblance of creature comforts. When another survivor arrives, he brings futuristic technology and stories of monsters he has encountered. Armed with this information, she takes a new interest in exploring her world, but she is not prepared for what awaits her, and the new arrival has brought his own set of problems.

On their separate journeys, Harrison and Dorothy begin to piece together what has happened to their world. Their questions have answers to be found in what remains of Chicago, and from the mysterious voice on the radio offering the hope that civilization can be rebuilt.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I was looking forward to reading this one as it is a mash up of some of my favourite genres. I have been reading more shifter titles so I feel ready for a change and I do like the sound of the blurb when it describes Dorothy, and her setting up a base in a shopping mall when the world changes around her. How the blurb describes the setting of the book reminds me a little of the setting of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and I truly adored that series, so I am hoping this book will be as good, half as good would make it a great read!

I found the sections of the book from Harrison's point of view more difficult to follow, and to be totally honest a little confusing. I much prefer the chapters from the point of view of Dorothy. 

The cover depicts a post apocalyptic scene, but also what to me looks a little like some large gates with a bright light shining through, could this be the gateway to safety and salvation from the apocalyptic world the characters find themselves in?

I would agree with the genres this book is listed as being on both Goodreads, and on Netgalley. Both platforms (Goodreads & Netgalley) classify this book as Sci-Fi. Netgalley also says fantasy, where as Goodreads adds the genres of dystopian, & post-apocalyptic. As I truly love all these genres I have quite high expectations from this book and series.  

I'm afraid I am having to give up and add Prelude To Mayhem to the Did Not Finish (DNF) category of books. It is quite rare that I don't finish a book and I have seriously tried with this one. 
So I'll start with what I like about the book. . .I like both of the settings the main characters have made their homes. The main male character Harrison, in a lockable room in a Motel he has found. He has also been lucky and found a nearby gas station that has fuel left. I thought its was a really good touch that has him visiting a bookstore and taking out items to read, as well as leaving a payment for it. So the detail makes this act of "purchasing" a book interesting, maybe Harrison is craving some sort of normality and that's how he gets it. 
The other main character is a fourteen year old girl called Dorothy. Dorothy has also made her self a base in the Hallmark store in a large shopping mall. She ventures out for food and supplies and seems to be doing very well until animal scavengers get access to some of it, forcing her a difficult journey moving what food she can salvage back to her living base in the Hallmark store.

Things I didn't like were certain aspects of the plot. I truly love the post apocalyptic genre and do enjoy fantasy and dystopian, but this book had to many random things thrown in as extra hints of maybe a futuristic element or even time-travel. I readily admit I haven't read and loved every time-travel book I have read, so that aspect irritated me - to the point I was not liking the chapters of the book from Harrison's point of view. Then to increase my genre confusion, he finds dead dinosaurs and is afraid of coming across a live one. So now we also have a pre-historic element added to the mix. It feels like the book was trying to include as many genres as it could.

My favourite character in the book was Dorothy. As a reader, you easily feel empathy with her. To say she is only just 14 years old, she seems to have great survival instincts and almost certainly made a brilliant choice of holing up in the shopping mall. Though I think I would have wanted to settle in a Debenhams, or John Lewis, somewhere that had a comfy bed on display, and in a store that would stock multiple items I would need in just one place. 
Though I wasn't overly keen on the parts of the book from Harrison's point of view, he was a decent enough character, older than Dorothy, though I didn't find out an exact age, perhaps that was revealed further on in the book.
The character I took an instant dislike to was that of John Roth, he is an older man, Dorothy thinks he is around forty years old. She comes across him when she makes her way to the hardware store in the shopping mall to take a bath. John Roth comes across as rather ignorant, unconcerned, self absorbed drifter. When Dorothy attempts to ask him to stay his response is. . .well in my opinion is rather odd and not what a normal caring human male of his age would ever  be like with a girl of Dorothy's age. I'll try to explain without giving away unnecessary spoilers.  I didn't think a certain comment about "breeding to re-populate the world" was either appropriate or what should be in character for a forty year old man to be saying to a fourteen year old girl! 

The final thing that I wasn't keen on was the whole "voice on the radio" that Harrison hears. The voice belongs to a female called Claudia (no idea of age) who is broadcasting, perhaps from a still working radio station or a pirate radio system she has managed to put together after the apocalyptic event. Claudia is repeating a message imploring any and all survivors to make their way to Chicago. I can't totally put my finger on it why I wasn't keen on this maybe I thought that this message is some form of trap? The other thing that bothered me was: where was everyone else? I mean I know with any apocalyptic event there would be a great amount that would lose their lives but surely Harrison would have seen someone else? Another survivor whilst he has been joyriding around in the car he has? Also if Dorothy thought to head to the Shopping Mall to make a base that was near to a good supply of food etc surely other survivors would have thought the same?

So, sadly I didn't finish this book. I honestly wouldn't say to anybody don't read this book as other people into time-travel/futuristic/pre-historic/post apocalyptic may really enjoy it. I really tried hard to continue and persevere with this book, but when I got to the point where I was actually dreading getting the kindle out to read the book, it was time to call it a DNF. Unfortunately this book was just not for me!


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

REVIEW - THE MASK - MONSTER ISLAND BY KATIE FRENCH

​Monster Island is a Young Adult serial mystery thriller where the pages practically turn themselves. Readers who like LOST, Maze Runner, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will get lost in this action-packed thriller. The Mask is 18,000 words and part four of a serialized novel to be released in five parts over the course of two months. 
For more information, please visit www.katiefrenchbooks.com.

Title: Monster Island: The Mask
Series: Monster island
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Thriller, Horror, Suspense
Release Date: 8th January 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Jade Miller. 
Someone has kidnapped me and chained me in a dark basement. 
The torture is awful, but what's worse is this masked man's calculated kindness. 
To stop the beatings and gain my freedom, I must join him, but doing so will mean doing things for him. 
Terrible things. 


PURCHASE LINK

REVIEW
As I approach reading this one I am hoping to have at least a few of my questions that I have from the other parts of this serialised novel answered. As a reader we still know very little about Dev and Jade. In fact I'm not entirely sure which side Jade is on after a couple of things she seems to have done quite willingly and easily.
As I read this book I enjoyed learning more about the character of Jade and her back story/life before the terror of the Island. I feel like I want to race on and read this really quickly. Though I wouldn't commit the flicking through pages to get to the answers as that only spoils the feeling of suspense and the trickle by trickle build up. I am still left with some old questions about Jade along with a few more I came up with reading this installment of the novel too. I didn't think it possible after reading Taken, The Noose, and Deep Down Dark but the Island and even some of the characters (who I will not name for fear of giving out too much information or spoilers) become creepier in part of the novel. This Island sure lives up to it's name of "Monster Island"!
The Cover is much along the lines of the other parts covers, though the writing, name of book  etc is in orange on this book. They fit well separately, I wonder if when all the parts are out, Katie will release them all together as a novel under an amalgamation of all the individual cover.
The genres I have said once reading the other part of Monster Island, have been horror, thriller, suspense, and dystopian. After reading this one I would probably drop the "dystopian" tag although in a way the plot does have genetic engineering within it. So I am still unsure about that tag. Maybe I would add "Genetics" or "Futuristic" or even "Sci-fi" to the genre list. 
Once again this section of the five part novel is told from the points of view of the teens, including Lucca our ultimate main character, Jade, whom we haven't learnt a great seal about until this segment and of course Kat. Also new to us the reader, is a section from the point of view of Dev. I enjoyed Kat and Lucca being apart and the fact they parted on pretty bad terms doesn't stop either of them wondering how the other is doing. 
Within this slice of the novel, it is revealed has had some survival type training from her father, so is much tougher than I had thought when first meeting her in the novel. Jade is also prepared to abide by a "survival of the fittest" ethic, and herself is her primary concern. 
The name of the head of the "bad guys" aka "Project Mosaic" is revealed as Mr Hindenburg, I can tell you that little nugget without spoiling anything because it is what you find out about Mr Hindenburgh and Project Mosaic that is disclosed in this piece of the novel. Even when threatened with the "authorities" Mr Hindenburgh does not back down as he has the ultimate weapon to use against those disgruntled by his monster creations. . . .the very same weak point in all those people he employed to do all the genetic engineering for him.
The ending of the book is wow! I honestly didn't see that coming. I kinda just sighed and thought certain characters were finally somewhere, or on course to be somewhere safe and something happens that snatches it all away. . . and ends without enlightening as to if those character survive or perish.
I warmed up a little bit to Jade in this segment of Monster Island, but to say I like her character would be a little too generous at the moment. Joslyn played a larger part fighting for survival alongside sister Kat. . . . I'd say Joslyn is not as naive, or fragile as older sister Kat treats her. I liked the interactions between the sisters. Of course I am still the most fond of, who I would say is the main character, Lucca. Lucca remains the decent noble guy, trying to help everyone, constantly seeing the good qualities in everyone. Attempting to make a plan that will save them all and have them off this horror island once and for all.
A character I didn't like who we briefly met in one of the earlier parts of the novel was Vito, Lucca's father. My opinion prior to this book was that Vito was coming across as an absentee father to Lucca and husband to Lucca's mother. He seems to put himself before all others even in his son. Sadly this installment in the novel doesn't paint a better picture of Vito at all, he still comes across selfish and irresponsible.
My final words on Monster Island: The Mask would have to be "Wow, the end of this book really does leave you hanging! And to the author "Katie! How could you!".

Friday, 27 January 2017

REVIEW - WOLF DAUGHTER BY G.A. RAEL

Title: Wolf Daughter
Author: G.A. Rael
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves, Romance
Release Date: 14th September 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Emery is a smart and driven college student whose upperclass world is turned upside down when her mother's engagement party is attacked by werewolves. Even more shocking is the revelation that Emery herself is a human-werewolf hybrid. After being shipped off to the country to live with the father who abandoned her, she finds herself at the center of a decades-old conflict between two werewolf families as well as a rivalry between her father's trusted beta and the black sheep of the pack. All Emery wants is to get back to her boyfriend Lawrence and her life in New York, but her father and her unwanted suitors have other plans for her future. When Lawrence becomes entangled in the world she wants nothing more than to escape, Emery will have to embrace the new normal or risk losing everything she loves. 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
It took me a while to decide what I wanted to read when choosing this book. I decided I wanted to continue with a shifter/werewolves theme. I've had this one waiting on my kindle/tablet waiting for me to read it for a while, so decided to go for this one.
 The cover features a female I would say is Emery. I like the font and placement of the title and author name, though I am not so keen on the "A contemporary fantasy" being printed on the cover, I like to discover the genre of the book by reading the blurb rather than needing it to be stated on the cover. Personally I think the genre description of paranormal, fantasy romance fits the book rather than the contemporary label.
I am finding the dynamics of the North East pack interesting. It seem's that Emery's father and Alpha Rick, is a more forward thinking leader than some of the other packs. In fact Rick is a powerful Alpha as is "The Alpha" or the whole of the north eastern region. Which probably why he has so successfully kept Emery hidden from all the other werewolves so well. The only reason emery is being taken to her father's and pack home is because there was a very public wolf attack, which occurred at her mother's engagement to new partner Robert. Emery has led a fairly modern life, her mum had her young and as far as emery is aware has brought her up single-handedly. Emery is settled in her own life, is independently minded, and has been dating psychologist Lawrence for three years now. Lawrence also has a rather feminist ethic. 
Emery is really pleased her mother, Beverly has found a partner in Robert, someone she can have fun with and at the same time will take care of her too. 
The attack happens as Emery has just finished her speech at Beverly and Roberts engagement party. The first clue anything is going on are the loud growls, then there's shattering glass and wolves! It's decided by her parents after this attack the safest place for Emery to be is with her father Rick, whom she has no memories of at all. Rick and the pack are taking care of the upset/trauma caused by the wolves attacking so blatantly in a public place. Rick sends one of his best wolves, Tucker, to collect Emery, and escort her to his home, which Emery has taken to calling "the compound". In her mind she is being taken away to some strange culture and she mentally shudders as she the majority of women she see's as her and tucker enter her fathers estate are all pregnant! It's not a big leap that Emery thinks her father has brought her here to be some sort of breeding machine to further increase his pack and power. 
It seems that Emery is somewhat of an anomaly as she is half human, but the differences don't stop there. Emery ends up with two of her fathers pack imprinting on her. There's Mitchell who acts as second in command and is a stable, reliable wolf. Then there's Dane, a more impetuous wolf who goes off on his own and does his own thing. Naomi the elder has never known such a thing as two wolves imprinting on one female. Imprinting is quite a complicated thing and once started cannot be stopped. If anything should happen to Emery those that imprinted on her will go feral. Ferals have to be put down as they are a danger to everyone, both human and pack. 
There is such a lot going on in this book, there are so many plot lines within this book. Emery being at the centre of most of them, there's the whole imprinting, so a love triangle between Emery, Mitchell and Dane. There's the fact that Emery has a human boyfriend Lawrence, and the whole attack/incident that needs to be covered up. There's the odd relationship between Emery and her mother Beverly. Also there's the old vendetta between a rival pack alpha Jeffrey and Emery's father Rick. There's an incident where a human is bitten, which usually ends with the human being immediately killed, but there are even more complications in this case, so the plot goes in another direction. I also adored all the usual pack politics and bickering between the wolves, as well as the easy camaraderie with each other. I would have liked to read more about the other pack members too. 
I of course loved Emery's character, all she has to adapt to, at first digging in her heels, and then eventually being actually eager to have a pack life. It was interesting how her opinion and thoughts about her mother change throughout the book. 
I loved both the characters of Mitchell and Dane, the two wolves that imprinted on her. Their characters as different as chalk and cheese, they fight like two kids over the last chocolate in the tin. (Emery being the last chocolate in the tin that they both want all to themselves). Though when events take a dangerous turn they manage to pull together for the sake of Emery. 
I admit that I did kind of see the whole Tucker/Lawrence story-line a little before it was revealed in the book. I really enjoyed the book, don't get me wrong but it could have been so much more. For example, I would have liked to have met some of the council members that Rick had to deal with too. There were also a couple of mistakes with wrong names being used, for example to begin with I thought Emery's mum was called Vanessa, but Vanessa is the maid at Ricks cabin. However Vanessa is then called Gretchen a little further into the book. I did auto correct this myself and I certainly wouldn't let a couple of typos put you off reading this book. I really didn't want to put this book down. I did feel that when the imprinting situation finally comes to a conclusion within the hunt. The steamy scene of Emery finally marking her mate, seemed a tiny bit "awkward", it all felt a little too rushed. I think this book could have maybe been longer or even made into two books there was certainly enough going on in it. The hunt itself wasn't as specific, or detailed as I expected. Though the scene around the river, is well written and detailed too. 
My final thoughts are that the book could possibly just end where it did and that be all for the story. Then again with all the other pack members and Emery, Dane and Mitchell's new way they will be running the pack, I think there could be so much more to read about. Either way I was fairly happy about how things ended. 




Tuesday, 24 January 2017

REVIEW - PROTECTED - DIABLO LAKE BY LAUREN DANE

Title: Protected
Series: Diablo Lake
Author: Lauren Dane
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 23rd January 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Tensions are building in Diablo Lake as the two main rival Packs vie for control, and the town is divided along lines of Pack loyalty. Aimee Benton and Mac Pembry are on opposite sides and he seems to find excuses to spar with her daily. He's infuriating—not to mention charming, gorgeous and oh-so-lickable.

Mac can't resist pushing Aimee's buttons. She's always been incredibly sexy, and the wolf in him craves a female with fire in her belly. When a heated argument ends with a sizzling kiss and Mac gets a taste of her, he craves more—and she can't seem to get enough of him, either. The forbidden nature of their attraction stokes their desires until they're secretly hooking up whenever they can.

But then Mac's clan goes too far, and Aimee shuts him out. She's hurt and angry—but that's nothing compared to the rage Mac is feeling toward his own Pack. A fight is brewing that will plunge the whole town into chaos, and someone will have to cross Pack lines to keep the town's fragile peace from breaking apart for good.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading Moonstruck and falling in love with Diablo Lake, its magic and secret supernatural population I was really eager to read more as soon as I could. I adored the characters, their interactions with their families and each other in Moonstruck. I read the blurb for this book and I was really raring to go with reading, to learn more about the Pembry wolves. I was also curious to see how a possible relationship between witch, Aimee Benton and dominant wolf Macrae Pembry would work out. My thoughts were along the lines of would the wolf men, Jace Dooley and Macrae Pembry and their differences come between the true deep friendship between Aimee Benton and Katie Faith Dooley?
I became totally immersed in the Diablo Lake magic before I'd finished reading the first page of Protected. The book picks up three weeks after the wedding of witch, Katie Faith Grady and prime wolf Jace Dooley. The alterations to the Dooley home of Jace and Katie are well underway and it seems both patrons, Jace & Katie have slipped into their new roles quite seamlessly and are coping with the added workload fairly easily too. The garden of the property has flourished since Katie moved in and it has abundant display of beautiful smelling roses.

Aimee is all worked up, she has discovered something about an ex-boyfriend and the only person she feels she can turn to with the revelation is best friend Katie Faith. Katie is naturally shocked but reassures her friend that she is not the person with the problem, it is her ex-boyfriend of three years Bob that has the issues and needs to deal with them. Katie advises Aimee to just forget about it all. 
The two girls soon turn their attention to the fit looking werewolves working on the house. Aimee can certainly understand her friends attraction to werewolves.

The cover of Moonstruck had a purple hue to it, this book has a blue hue. The scene on Protected's cover could be straight from a certain section of the book when a certain couple are kissing under the moonlight. I would say the couple is Aimee and Macrae the two most central characters within Protected. Katie actually teases Aimee, saying that Macrae is "eyeing her up", though Aimee laughs and brushes off the comment she has to admit to herself and then later to best friend Katie that she finds Macrae rather swoon worthy herself!

The genre of Protected is classified as Romance, Sci-Fi Fantasy by Netgalley and I totally agree with this. I will add that yes there are some steamy scenes with quite explicit language but to me it works well as it is part of a larger plot/storyline not just for the sake of a steamy scene.

So after being "rescued" by Macrae from being skittled over by two fighting werewolves (Dooley vs Pembry) and then "bumping" into Macrae a few other times they end up organising a date. Naturally gossips that they are Aimee and Katie come up with the idea of meeting up making it, Aimee, Macrae, Katie and Jace going out for the meal! These girls are as close as sisters really, and throughout the book Katie Faith proves to be a real support and defender of Aimee. Jace also views Aimee as family and is always on hand to "sort out" anyone bothering her, but Aimee is a strong witch, who both can and prefers to defend herself. There's rumours, malicious gossip, rival pack tensions as well as internal Pembry wolf pack tensions galore in this book. If you thought Moonstruck was packed full of action . . ..well Protected has all that and even more.
Katie Faith & Jace Dooley still feature quite highly in my list of favourite characters in this series. We also learn just how stern Miz Rose can be when a couple of werewolves that should know better break the code, one of the simplest but most important rules for all those that live in Diablo Lake. I'm trying to hint and skirt around revealing anything as I of course do not want to spoil your own reading experience of this brilliant book. 
I cannot say I like Scarlett Pembry but at one or two points in Protected you do feel empathy towards her, as Aimee does too. The way Scarlett keeps on going at Katie Faith and her reputation is weird. . . and is becoming stranger and more mystifying as the Diablo Lake Series progresses. Scarlett really seems to have a vendetta against Katie . . . .and she continually rakes over old Diablo Lake history bringing up Josiah Dooley . . . and hinting at "bad things" as well as snarking and being nasty towards Jace Dooley too. Hopefully we will learn exactly what Scarlett's problem is somewhere in the future of the Diablo Lake series.
The odd thing about Scarlett is that when she finds out about a possible union between Katie Faith's best friend Aimee and her son Macrae she is all for it. The immediate reason for her favourable attitude towards Aimee seems to be that it would mean the "Pembry pack" would then have their own witch like she see's Katie Faith being to the Dooley pack. 
I'm looking forward to learning what her actual problem is and why she is so anxious to do as much damage to Jace and Katie Dooley as possible.
Macrae is the opposite of his parents, in fact he ends up having to make some difficult choices in how to deal with certain members of his family. I personally think Macrae is similar in character, personality and ways to Jace Dooley. I reckon if Jace and Macrae were in charge of their respective packs there would be much less drama and upset in Diablo Lake. The "cats" in Diablo Lake have a brief part to play in a "clean up" operation that has Miz Rose taking charge. I'm hoping we get to discover more about the cat shifters later in this series. Though what we do know is that they aren't as close, and in and out of each others homes like the werewolf packs are.
The "shining star" of Protected has to be Aimee Benton, who is a nurturing green witch. Aimee is the person who goes around Diablo Lake calling in on the older generation offering herbal and magic infused tinctures and balms to soothe their ailments. Aimee does this without anything in return really, she does it because she can and wishes too. I thought the way she wormed her way into Jeph Pembry's home and heart was particularly amusing, she kind of managed to turn around her good deeds, giving the impression Jeph was doing her a favour eating the extra bun, or the extra broth or pie she left for him. Even the matriarchal Rebecca Pembry is won over by the caring Aimee. Rebecca gives both the permission and strength to Macrae to pursue Aimee no matter what as well as being the wise voice he needs to hear when the time comes he has to become patron. Rebecca informs her grandson Macrae that Aimee Benton will make a worthy patron and be a great asset to the Pembry pack.

Protected is more centred on the Pembry wolves, though we have already met Macrae's immediate family of parents Dwayne and Scarlett, and obnoxious spolit brother Darrell. We also read about Mac Pembry's true family support network from grandmother Rebecca, to his Uncle Bern and his wife and the cousins that always have his back Huston and Everett. We also learn a little more about Mac's other brothers Billy and youngest Samuel. It was an important moment in the book when Samuel chose to speak up and warn Macrae and Aimee about a plan that current Mayor Dwayne has to discredit opponent Aimee in the run up to the Mayoral elections. I'm looking forward to seeing and reading about the aftermath of the incidents at the end of Protected. How will Scarlett react now she is no longer the patron? Will the Pembry pack finally settle under the watchful eye and fair hand of Mac Pembry.

I have to add just a few more things....Firstly, I truly adored the part in the book where it is revealed Macrae got his name from. Secondly, I could seriously visualise the incident in the supermarket where Nadine Grady hears Pembry Wolves slandering her daughters name ans she picks up a can of peaches and hits the wolf. . . . well you'll find out when you read the book yourselves. Finally, I was also immensely entertained by what I call the Katie/Aimee "isms" such as "Softy Softerson", "maggot eating shit lord"and "Cheaty McCheaterson". The other nick names I found really appropriate during Protected, were for the opposing packs in town were the "Droolworthy Dooleys" and the "Poison Pembrys". Though after the ending of Protected maybe it should be "Droolworthy Dooleys" and "Pulseracing Pembry's". 

I could really go on and on about this book, in fact this series so far! The books fit together well, especially as there is only a three week time frame gap between the end of Moonstruck and the beginning of Protected. 

The initial words floating around my head as I finished reading Protected but also fit well for Moonstruck were, Enthralling, Captivating, Emotional, and Heart Warming. The Diablo Lake series has family and community at the very heart of the plots and has some relate-able situations even though it is classified as fantasy. All I can really sum up with is Wow! another fantastic book n the Diablo Lake Series! and that I am so eagerly awaiting the next book in the series I hope it's not long until its available to read.