Mar 31, 2014

DarkFuse #1 edited by Shane Staley

Title: DarkFuse #1

Editor: Shane Staley

Authors: William Meikle, Michael Penkas, William R. Eakin, E. G. Smith, Gary McMahon, & Christopher Fulbright

Publisher: DarkFuse

Publication date: March 25th, 2014

My rating: 4 of 5

(Book read from March 29th to March 30th, 2014,  from a review copy received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.)  

Summary & My Thoughts on the Stories:

The premier volume of DarkFuse's anthology series, featuring 6 original tales of dark fiction.

"She Sleeps in the Depths" by William Meikle

In this first story, we meet Fallon (and later Val), and they both have been hearing this weird song over & over again, and felt drawn to a particular place in search of the song & it's meaning, in hope to stop it. I quite liked this story, the idea was so good, and I loved the ending.
 My rating: 3 of 5

"Better Heard and Not Seen" by Michael Penkas

Better Heard and Not Seen was my most favorite story in this anthology. It was so eerie (I got chills all over), and so hearbreaking, and plain scary, and it packed quite a punch for such a short story. In it we meet the 7-year old Kevin, who lives in a new house, and is scared from the thing living in his closet. As I said, this story was just plain scary, which I didn't expected, and it was practically perfect, from the beginning to the very end.
My rating: 5 of 5

"Carrion Fowl" by William R. Eakin

Carrion Fowl was something else. It's set in an apocalyptic world, where people had started to mutate, or maybe I should say to evolve in something else - half birds, half lizards, and still a tiny part men. The world-building in this story was quite brilliant, and almost scary (I wouldn't want to leave in it). And the story, it was just so heartbreaking, though I wish it was a tiny bit shorter, but still, so good!
My rating: 4 of 5

"Jaws of Life" by E. G. Smith

In Jaws of Life, we meet Chandler, who just had a car accident, and now he's stuck in his car, and waiting - hoping - for help. Some weird children find him, but they don't want to help him, at least Fisher seems like he doesn't want to help him, and orders the others not to tell the grown ups about him. I had a pretty good feeling why, and even though I wasn't surprised, I was still sad when it happened.
My rating: 3.5 of 5

"Netherview" by Gary McMahon

I really don't want to go into details about this story, but I loved it. We follow the young married couple Ria & Roy, and one eerie place they come across on the road. This story was eeire & sad, and to be honest, it was over too soon. I wanted more, and I was sad when it was over. Still, it was really good.
My rating: 4 of 5


"Children of the Horned God" by Christopher Fulbright

Ok, so overall I wasn't a fan of this story. I loved the beginning, and how the story developed, it was really good, but near the end, I just didn't like it. It was too weird for me (and I never thought I'd say this, ever). The ending wasn't bad, just too weird. And it was imaginative, and dark, and sad, but not quite my cup of tea.

My rating: 3 of 5

Overall, the DarkFuse #1 anthology is a great collection of dark & eerie & mysterious stories, and if you're a fan of them, I highly recommend it!




Mar 30, 2014

"Another Little Piece of My Heart" by Tracey Martin

Title: Another Little Piece of My Heart

Author: Tracey Martin

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication date: December 1st, 2013

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from March 21st to March 24th, 2014,  from a review copy received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.)  


What if your devastating break-up became this summer’s hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart.
At her dying mother’s request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she’s ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared’s big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire’s heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio.

The summer after her senior year, it’s been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Before I start reviewing this book, I have to mention that I'm a big fan of Persuasion. Also, I love books that feature music or musicians in some way, and this book had both. An amazing retelling of Persuasion & the main characters are musicians, and even though I tried to see this book as only YA contemporary novel, in the end I couldn't stop myself from viewing it as a retelling also.

Just like Persuasion, Another Little Piece of My Heart starts on the slow side, and I loved the fact that it matched with the original ;) That being said, despite this book being a surprising & almost perfect retelling of a classic, I loved that it didn't follow everything to the detail. It was close enough, but different, and though it still contained the same story, at the same time, I was left being surprised by it over & over again.
I really liked Claire. She's so talented & likable. I also really liked Jared, too. He's so talented, and heartbroken, and confused, and so great - just like Mr. Wentworth ;) And I loved the interactions between them both. They're just so perfect for each other, and so sweet (when they weren't arguing), and in the end so romantic, I just love their story & was hoping for their happily ever after.

Another Little Piece of My Heart is one great YA contemporary novel, that will make you smile, break your heart, make you swoon, and make you want to listen to a whole lot of music. So, if you love contemporary romances or you love Persuasion, I highly recommend this book!



Mar 29, 2014

"Stolen Songbird" by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Stolen Songbird

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Series: The Malediction trilogy, #1

Publisher: Angry Robot Ltd

Imprint: Strange Chemistry

Publication date: April 1st, 2014

My rating: 4 of 5

(Book read from March 28th to March 29th, 2014,  from an eARC received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.) 




For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. 

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity. 

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. 

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Stolen Songbird is one rich fantasy debut, and a great addition to the genre. This book will enchant you, delight you, and charm you, and before you know it, it will be over, and you'll be eager for more.

At the beginning, we meet Cecile. After learning a few things about her, and her past & hopes, and dreams (enough to understand her & get to know her), she gets kidnapped & thrust into a world she didn't even knew existed, and thought a myth. I was actually happy that the beginning didn't drag at all, we got right to the good & interesting stuff - a.k.a the world of Trollus.

I was delighted by the world the author had created, I thought it was interesting & refreshing, and I got so wrapped up in the story, that I didn't even overthink some things. There was something that felt a little bit familiar, like I should've recognize it from somewhere, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it, (as I said, too captivated by Tristan & Cecile's story), and after it was revealed (ok, hinted at), I wanted to smack myself on the head. But, I loved how the author keeps the reader busy with all the intrigues, and dangers, and politics, and romance - all in a wonderful, fairy-tale-like package, that I wasn't able to stop reading.

I loved the author's twist of the trolls and you-know-what in the story, and the curse, and the magic, and the society of Trollus, everything. I have a thing about stories where something from the past still has consequences in the future, and Stolen Songbird is a story like that. 

I also loved the characters, at least the ones we're supposed to love of course. Cecile is smart & brave, and sweet, though not perfect. And Tristan - he's amazing. He's so good at the life he has to lead in his world, and so brave & smart & good, though also selfish, so not perfect, but you won't be able to stop yourself from cheering him on, as well as Cecile, and wanting their happily ever after. After all, they're perfect for each other, and so, so sweet. I loved that the author managed to make both Cecile & Tristan feel & act like teenagers, yet they weren't whiny at all, something that isn't often found in the YA genre. The rest of the characters were quite likable, too, as for the villains, yeah, they were scary & evil, and I wouldn't want to live in a world with them.
Other thing I quite loved about this book was that at times it felt like I was reading a fairy tale or a fairy tale retelling, it had that magical & wonderful setting, and that added to the charm of the story a lot.

Another thing I have to praise is the cover. Sure, when I saw it for the first time, I thought it was quite pretty, but the fact that all the details on the cover were included in the book, made me love it even more, and it's definitely the perfect cover for the book.

If you're a fan of YA fantasy books with romance, magic, politics, and monsters - than this is the book for you, and I highly recommend it! Danielle L. Jensen is the author to watch, and I can't wait to see what she will come up with next, as well as where the Malediction Trilogy will take us next!



Mar 22, 2014

"The Lost City of Faar" by D. J. MacHale

Title: The Lost City of Faar

Author: D. J. MacHale

Series: Pendragon, #2

My rating: 4.5 of 5

(Book read from February 24th to February 28th, 2014.) 



Fourteen-year-old Bobby Pendragon is not like other boys his age. His uncle Press is a Traveler, and, as Bobby has learned, that means Uncle Press is responsible, through his journeys, for solving interdimensional conflict wherever he encounters it. His mission is nothing less than to save the universe from ultimate evil. And he's taking Bobby along for the ride.
Fresh from his first adventure on Denduron, Bobby finds himself in the territory of Cloral, a vast world that is entirely covered by water. Cloral is nearing a disaster of huge proportions. Reading the journals Bobby sends home, his friends learn that the desperate citizens of the endangered floating cities are on the brink of war. Can Bobby -- suburban basketball star and all-around nice guy -- help rid the area of marauders, and locate the legendary lost land of Faar, which may hold the key to Cloral's survival?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Once upon a time, years before I started blogging, I came across the book The Merchant of Death. It sounded fun, so of course I had to get it & read it, and I loved it. It was quite the adventure, and I was eager to continue the series.  
The Merchant of Death is the first book in the Pendragon series, a series of 10 books, but at the time I hadn't been able to get my hands on the sequels, and after I did some years later, I hadn't been able to get around to continuing the series. 
I have this thing that I do, I keep postponing reading & finishing the series that have more than a few books, and every year since I've started blogging I made the resolution to finally return to the series, and every year I failed big time. And since it was so long ago since I read The Merchant of Death, a reread was necessary, even though I remembered the particulars. And finally, I reread the first book near the end of 2013, I felt about it the same way as I did the first time, such a great adventure & great beginning to a new series, so 2014 is the year I'll finally finish the Pendragon series (I hope). And finally reading The Lost City of Faar is one step closer to me reaching my goal ;)

The Lost City of Faar continues where The Merchant of Death ended. Bobby Pendragon & Uncle Press followed Saint Dane on the planet Cloral. I absolutely loved Cloral! I wish I lived there. It wasn't perfect, but it was magnificent. The whole planet is under water, and I loved the world-building, and their technology, and the way they lived, just everything about it. So imaginative, and beautiful & lovely, and I wish I was there. So, yeah, I totally fell in love with Cloral, and that's what made me love this book so much.

The second thing that made me love this book was the new character - Vo Spader. From the moment we meet him, I adored him. He's such a charming, easy-going, funny guy. And he's so smart, quick on his feet, and so, so brave. Just one of those persons that light up the room wherever they go.
But, after something happened to him, he changed of course, everyone would in his place, so my heart was breaking a little bit for him, and I could understand him, and I can't wait to see what will happen next with him.

And then there's Bobby of course - our protagonist. I love Bobby Pendragon. There's just something about him, he's so likable, and good, and brave (even when he's afraid), and loyal, and he keeps getting better as a Traveler.

I adore Uncle Press. I would've loved to have an uncle like him, he's amazing, and I'll stop right here. I'll say that I was really sad & heartbroken, but I just know that this isn't the end ;)

And yay, Loor of course was back, at least for a little while ;) She's as amazing as ever, and I loved the glimpse of Zadaa as well.

The only thing that irritated me in this book was Mark. I think that he acted a little bit foolish about something, he should've told Courtney right away, but in the end, they were awesome with the way they dealt with the situation they had found themselves in.

Another thing I have to point out is that I love the way the series is written. We (the readers) just like Mark & Courtney, follow Bobby's adventures as a traveler through his journals, journals that he sends to Mark & Courtney for safekeeping, and to let them know how he is doing. To be honest, this time, I just wished to skip the parts with Mark & Courtney, because Mark irritated me, and go right from one journal to the next, because I was eager to see what will happen next to Bobby, but I still loved the writing style.
I loved the story. It was quite the adventure. The villain (Saint Dane) was villainous, there was lots of action, adventure, mystery, danger, and the mysterious & lost city of Faar. That's all I'm going to say, and I'm really excited about reading the sequel, especially with the teaser we got in the end about what Bobby has been through so far after leaving Cloral & where he has ended up, it sure seems to be quite the roller coaster ride.
If you're a fan of adventure books, then this series is for you. An adventure in time & space (I know, it sounds like Doctor Who, I totally stole the line ;) but believe me, it's different), an awesome mix of fantasy & science fiction & adventure, and so far, so good, and I highly recommend it!



Mar 21, 2014

"Goliath" by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Goliath

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Series: Leviathan, #3

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from March 12th to March 13th, 2014.)


Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek's throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. 

The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren't technically enemies.
The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board.

Secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is as it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld's brilliant trilogy.


My Thoughts on the Book:

Goliath is the final book of the Leviathan trilogy. This book continues where the previous one ended. Alek & Deryn once again are aboard the Leviathan, though this time, everyone knows who exactly Alek is. The Leviathan & its crew get an unexpected assignment, so they detour from their original course & go to the frozen regions of Russia to pick up a mysterious passenger (and I totally got surprised by him, I guess I should've see it coming, but didn't). After that, they'll go to New York. 

Once again, we got to see a lot more from the whole world. It seems in every book the author decided to show his vision of this alternative steampunk world, no matter if it's science, art, politics, technology or war & revolutions. Anything goes, and I loved every second of it. The imagination & thought that went to the building of this world is absolutely brilliant.

The story itself, once again was surprising, it had its unexpected twists & turns, and it was another funny, entertaining & adventure-filled journey, that I won't forget soon. I loved seeing old friends, meeting new ones (even the crazy, but brilliant scientist), and hoping for Deryn & Alek's HEA, and cheering them on. In that aspect, I was quite satisfied. It was sweet & cute & believable & perfect, simply adorable, and just so them. I just love them both so much as characters, and you know how I said in my Behemoth review that Deryn is my most fav character in the series - well, now I can't possibly choose, not after what Alek did in this book. He's such an amazing character, too, and both of them will always be some of my all time fav characters.

The ending of this book was perfect & believable & heartbreaking & wonderful, and the same goes as the finale of the Leviathan trilogy. I'm really glad that I finally finished this trilogy, it's one of my fav trilogies now, and I know I'll love returning to this world over & over again.

If you're a fan of books with unique & brilliant worlds & adventure-filled steampunk books, that will make you laugh, and fill you with wonder, then the Leviathan books are the books for you, and I highly recommend them!



Mar 20, 2014

"Behemoth" by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Behemoth

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Series: Leviathan, #2

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from March 9th to March 1oth, 2014.)


The Behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

 Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

My Thoughts on the Book:

It was oh so long ago (in 2010), when I started to fall in love with the steampunk genre, and I read the first book in the Leviathan trilogy - Leviathan. And finally, I decided it's time to finish this trilogy. So, of course, this warranted another read of the first book, so I'll get the maximum of the story & its world.
Once again, I adored Leviathan. Even though I knew the story, I still couldn't help but get enchanted once again by the wondrous steampunk world the author had created and marvel at it. The whole Darwinists & Clankers technology (especially the Darwinists) is so imaginative, and I loved it! And of course, once again I loved the story & the characters, so the moment I finished rereading Leviathan, I jumped right into the 2nd book Behemoth, and I wasn't disappointed.

I'll try not to get into details, because I don't want to spoil the story to anyone, but I was definitely surprised of the way the story developed, it was unexpected & adventurous, and I loved every second of it.

First, I have to say, I adore the Leviathan. We get to see & learn more about how it operates, and I'm still amazed by it & the imagination of it, so wonderful & unique. I would love to get a ride on a ship like that.

Next, I love that we got to "meet" more of the steampunk world, the way it operates in another country, it was so interesting & fun, and I loved meeting the new characters, which were another delight. 

But, the most wonderful thing in this book was the hatching of the first of the beasties from the mysterious eggs - the perspicacious loris named Bovril. I adored Bovril, he/it was so adorable & made me laugh, especially every time when he said "Mr.Sharp", and chuckled, I did, too :D And of course, once again I loved Alek & Deryn as characters, though if I have to choose, Deryn is definitely my most fav character (after Bovril). She's so brave & smart, and inovative, and loyal, and amazing.

In Behemoth, the story was a mix of adventure, war, politics & scheming, humour & action, set in one world full of genius inventions, that will keep you hooked until its very end, and leave you wanting for more, and I can't recommend enough this book, as well as the Levithan trilogy!



Mar 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created & hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish. 
For more info about it, check out the post HERE.


So, My Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List are:


What about you? 
Leave me your TTT links!