Monday, 31 October 2011

Best Of The Bunch- October 2011

Best Of The Bunch is a monthly award ceremony hosted at the end of the month by Lyrical over at Lyrical Reviews where we can look back over the books read the past month and award a Best Of The Bunch award to our favourite book of the month.
This month I have reviewed on the blog-
  • Exile by Rebecca Lim (3.5 of 5 stars)
  • Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs (4 of 5 stars)
  • The Promise by Apryl Baker (3.5 of 5 stars)
  • Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien (4 of 5 stars)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (5 of 5 stars)
My Best of Bunch award is going to go to...


... no surprises here... Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor!

This book gets my vote because it was so beautifully written with such wonderful characters. It was so unique and just magical, vivid, funny, and tragically romantic. I loved how it very cleverly linked the events of the present to flashbacks of the past, and just generally made me go Wow!
Read my full review of this book here.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.

I did a pretty poor job of reviewing books this month, and I vow to do better in November, trying to post at least 2 book reviews a week. To read the full review of any of the other books mentioned above please check out the blog archive on the sidebar on the right of the screen.
I would love to see which book your award would go to, so check out Lyrical's blog to add your post to the list. Leave me a comment below as well.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

In My Mailbox 30th October 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
It also gives me a chance to be nosy and see what everyone else has got to read, and so gives me plenty of new books to pine after!

I got so many fantastic books this week. I got-

On my birthday last week I got some money and vouchers which I used to buy... books!

  • Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, I love the sound of this book which sounds really unique and original, with magic, prophecies, a love story and a quest.
Review by Mel at Mel's Random Reviews

  • Fade and Gone by Lisa McMann. These are books 2 and 3 in the Dream Catcher series. I read book 1- Wake earlier this year and really enjoyed it, but my library didn't have the rest of the series. It's about a girl who can fall into other people's dreams while they are sleeping, and a romance with another outcast at school- Cabel.

I also went a bit mad on the Zombie books this week- Braaaaains!

  • The First Days by Rhiannon Frater. A post-zombie apocalypse novel with kick-ass girl heroines. I first noticed this book in a review by Ashley of The Bookish Brunette (whose blog is awesome, and her enthusiam for zombie novels is infectious). But all the 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads speak for themselves. I can't wait to read this.

  • I Kissed A Zombie, And I Liked It by Adam Selzer.
The title says it all really. Fluffy high-school romance- with zombies.

  • Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby. I bought Ashby's other novel Fairy Bad Day earlier in the year, but still haven't read it yet. Both these books look like funny light-hearted fun, and I hope I get a chance to read them soon, probably when I need an injection of fluffy silliness.

From the Library:
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter. Ally Carter's other series Gallagher Girls is very clever, very sweet and really funny, so I'm really looking forward to reading this new series about a teenage cat burglar.

  • Sweetly by Jackson Pearce. This is a modern retelling of the old fairystory Hansel and Gretel and a companian novel to Sisters Red (which was a fantastic book).


  • Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan. This is a futuristic sci-fi novel about a family travelling in a spaceship to a distant planet. Love triangles, betrayals and attacks on the ship from outside. This sounds like a really good book.

Those were the books that came into my house the past week- what did you get?
Happy reading!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Time Will Come #36

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

At some point I really want to read the Billi SanGreal series by Sarwat Chadda. These books like a great action adventure story, with a bit of romance thrown in, and a story of friendships and loyalty.
Book 1 is Devil's Kiss and book 2 is called Dark Goddess.

Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she would have to make sacrifices to be in the Knights Templar. Sacrifices like losing her mother to the Templar's ongoing battle against the Unholy; sacrifices like trading her childhood in for relentless training; sacrifices that keep her completely isolated from the world of a normal teen girl.

Billi's lone wolf status is challenged when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from his psychic training in Jerusalem. Kay manages to stir things up quickly -- he's gorgeous, arrogant, and wants to slide right back into his old place in Billi's life. Billi is skeptical, but interested, until she meets Michael -- an ethereally handsome guy who seems to understand her like no one before him, and effortlessly stakes a claim in her heart.
Just as Billi's starting to enjoy this pleasant new twist to her life, Kay ruins everything. In a moment of bravado, Kay uses the last of the Templar's treasures, King Solomon's cursed mirror, drawing the attention of one of the most dangerous of the Templars' enemies -- The Angel of Death.
Only with the mirror can the dark angel unleash his full powers, and now that he's heard the call of the mirror, he'll stop at nothing to get it. To save London from catastrophe, Billi will have to make sacrifices greater than she'd ever imagined.

Maybe one day...!


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Waiting On Wednesday #12

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can spotlight those books that are not yet published and we are eagerly anticipating.

This week I am waiting on Taken By Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This is Book 3 in the Raised by Wolves series, and I am really enjoying this story and these characters.

This is published in May 2012

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Review: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and BoneDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Featuring necklaces made of wishes; an underground shop dealing in teeth; magical tattoos; a wishbone on a cord, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a thrilling story about Karou and her secret life as an apprentice to a wishmonger. Karou manages to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she is a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to an inhuman creature who deals in wishes and is the closest thing she has to family. Her life is surrounded by mysteries she is desperate to unveil.


WOW! - that pretty much sums up this book. Daughter of Smoke and Bone becomes the standard to which novels now need to measure up to. I think the pages actually glow with magic as you read it. This novel is just beautiful- so fresh and quirky and completely different from anything else I've ever read. Mysterious and intriguing, and completely engrossing.

Karou is an art student living in Prague, and flitting between two worlds- the real world with her artwork and her normal friends, and then the world of the demons who have raised her since she was a baby. Karou is a wonderfully unique character, both feisty and kick-ass, but also recently heartbroken and incredibly emotionally vulnerable. You can't help but love her and be completely fascinated by her. She is working for her grumpy guardian Brimstone, travelling the world via portal and collecting teeth from grave robbers or animal researchers for Brimstone's mysterious magic, when she meets Akiva and finds herself caught up in a centuries old otherworldly war. Secrets come out that explain who Karou really is, and we look back in time, to Akiva's past, and an incident that changed the course of the future. I loved the way that the flashbacks into the past tied cleverly into the dramatic events of the present- very cleverly bringing the story back full circle.

I don't know how to describe this book without giving too much away, only that it's magical, and it made me laugh and made me cry- a superb book full of humour, love, loss, war, revelations, tragedy and heartbreak. So so good. It is the beautiful vivid and lyrical writing, and the tragic romance that really make this book what it is, and I was so completely wrapped up this world, I was there. This is my favourite book of the year so far, I'm desperate for more from this story and these characters.

Expected publication of book 2 is September 2012

Don't just take my word for it! Check out these awesome reviews from these fab bloggers-

Lesley at My Keeper Shelf
Christy at The Reader Bee
Jessica at Jess Hearts Books
Giselle at Xpresso Reads
Kirsty at The Overflowing Library

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love... It did not end well.”

Monday, 24 October 2011

Maybe Books #1

My TBR list is so huge that I really really don't need any more added to it. I have so many books piled up at home that I still haven't read, and a wishlist a mile long. But I still can't resist browsing through the reviews on blogs, checking my recommendations on Amazon, and nosing on Goodreads to see what everyone else is reading. By doing this I usually find more books to add to the TBR.

Occasionally though I come across some books that I am intrigued by, and the blurb sounds okay, but a lot like many others that I've read that sound similar. I don't really know much more about the book but I may have seen it on a few people's In My Mailbox or Waiting On Wednesday posts, and I have noticed the book but I'm still not sure about it. These are my "Maybe" books. I feel like I need to see something more about it before I commit to wanting it. I need to see a few positive reviews of it, or for someone say that it is a fantastic book and worth my time to read it.

Do you have any "maybe" books, or do you do the same thing?

Here are some of my Maybes:

Dash And Lily's Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I don't read a lot of contemporary novels and I'm not too sure about this one. According to Goodreads it's about a "whirlwind romance" where 2 characters "trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York".

Winter's Shadow by M.J Hearle
This has such a gorgeous cover, but I don't really know anything about it. Something about (according to Goodreads again) a boy with emerald eyes (why do they always have emerald eyes?!) who saves Winter's life "but Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous". Hmmm- still not sure, it sounds so much like all the other teen paranormal romances out there at the moment.

Shadows by Amy Meredith. Book 1 in the Dark Touch series.
From Goodreads
"Fifteen-year-old Eve Evergold is cute, sassy and enjoying a busy social life. What she doesn't know yet is that someone close to her is an evil demon that only she has the supernatural power to defeat. She needs to work out who it is - and fast! Because although there's something very attractive about the dark a demon? Pure hell!"
Nope- still not sure.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight.
Troubled teen- transferred to new school- has secret strange abilities- discovers that some of the other students are gods and goddesses- new romance thrown into the story. That's the general idea that I get from the blurb, has anyone read it? Is it any good?

If you have written a review on any these books please tell me what you thought! Post a link to any reviews in the comments below to help me decide, and feed my addiction for new books to crave!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

In My Mailbox 23rd October 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where we can show which books we received during the week- whether bought, borrowed or given for review.
It was my birthday this week! And I got-



  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund. Book 1 in the Killer Unicorns series
  • Ripple by Mandy Hubbard. I think this is a mermaid romance, but I like Mandy Hubbard's writing and this sounds pretty good.
  • Touch Of Frost by Jennifer Estep. This is book 1 in the Mythos Academy series, and this one looks pretty good as well. I haven't read anything by this author before but have been meaning to.
  • Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. This is a modern contemporary story about a young girl who is kidnapped.
  • Stay by Deb Caletti. About a girl in an abusive relationship. I don't tend to read a lot of contemporary novels but this one and Living Dead Girl have been on my wishlist since I read Kate's review of them on That Book Blog. I can't wait to read these now.
  • Tiger's Quest and Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. I have already read both of these on audiobook but I loved them so much that I wanted paper copies of them, so that I could re-read my favourite parts.

  • My Soul To Steal by Rachel Vincent. Book 4 in the Soul Screamers series. I really love this series and had to buy this book because I couldn't wait!

For Review:

  • Dearly Departed by Lia Habel. This is a futuristic steampunk story. This is set in 2195 in a high-tech nation where the manners and fashion is modelled on old victorian times- and there are zombies. This sounds really cool, and I wanted to read it ever since I first heard about it.
Thanks to Random House Publishing and Netgalley for the review copy.

  • Something Witchy This Way Comes by Veronica Blade. A teenage witch story about a girl who discovers that she has magical powers.                                                                                                      Received direct from the publisher with thanks.
Those were all the books I got this week- some fantastic books I know, and I'm looking forward to reading them. What did you get in your mailbox?
Happy reading!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Review: Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.

This is a great dystopian novel with many layers, and many twists, turns and surprises. It was different from what I was expecting but nonethless brilliant- a very moving and very clever book.

Birthmarked is set in a futuristic world where all that is left of society exists in a city protected by a wall, and the refugees living outside the wall. The residents of the city, although well off with plenty to eat, have become sickly and prone to genetic defects through inbreeding, whereas in comparison the people scrounging a living outside the city walls have become tough and resilient. Gaia has been raised outside the wall in home where they have very little in the way of money, food or posessions, but full of love and joy in her family. It is the only life she has ever known and she is happy. Although only sixteen years old Gaia has followed her mother, the midwife of that section and has learned the trade competently enough to be confident at attending births on her own. However, because of the problems within the city, the government has demanded a quota of babies from outside the city walls to be adopted and brought up by families within the city, in exchange for a supply of clean water, other provisions, and the freedom to stay living outside the wall. It is Gaia's duty to serve the Enclave, and deliver the first babies born each month, and she does this without question, just like her mother before her, who also had to give up two of her own children. When one day Gaia returns home to find that her parents have been arrested, and that she is wanted for questioning about their treason, Gaia's life changes forever.

We are only very gradually drip-fed little pieces of information about a rebellion involving her family that Gaia had no idea about. So we are very gradually introduced to the lies and sheer scale of what is happening in the Enclave the same as Gaia. As Gaia is swept up in the politics of the society and imprisoned for information that they think she knows, we see her steadily transform from a very sweet naive and accepting girl who serves the Enclave unquestioningly, into a tougher, smarter girl ready to fight for whatever she thinks is right. She has to solve her father's secret code leading to information about the identities of the children raised within the wall, she has to form alliances and make new friends, break into government buildings and all sorts of other exciting challenges.

Gaia is the star of this book- all the other characters are secondary. She stands out for her unflinching goodness, and positive willingness to help others, even when she considers herself inferior because of her scarred face. She is also brave, and willing to face hunger and prison and scaling the walls if it means saving her family. There is one scene where she helps a newborn baby that has nothing to do with her, even when it means risking being captured herself. Captain Grey is always in the background trying to offer her support and advice, and Gaia stubbornly refuses to understand why he might help her, because of her scars and lower status. They work well together, and seem to bring out the best in the other. But my favourite moment in the story is a memory that Gaia treasures of her and her parents picking berries one morning- because it really hits home how close they were as a family, and what she has lost- and contrasts with Leon Grey's memories of his cold upbringing with money and priveledge but also the pressure of high expectations.

Little Gaia becomes the key to the mystery surrounding the adopted babies, and the first threat to the power of the Enclave. I really enjoyed this book and was completely drawn into this world. The writing is beautiful and full of description so that you feel like a part of this harsh futuristic society, and grow to really love all these amazing characters. This novel is believable, moving, and harrowing, but with sweet characters that you can't help but root for and fall in love with.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Time Will Come #35

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme hosted by Jodie at Books For Company, where we can spotlight those books that we've had sitting on our shelves for too long. Books that we really want to read but never seem to get around to.

My Time Will Come pick this week is Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is sitting on the shelf at the library, and I've been meaning to read it for absolutely ages, (but I have way too many books out already!)
It is a dystopian sci-fi novel that has been recommended for fans of The Hunger Games.  It has been reviewed by bloggers whose tastes are similar to mine and whose opinion I trust, and I think it sounds really good. It's also published in the UK by The Chicken House and they always publish only the best books!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out.
The sequel Scorch Trials has also just come out, and I'm not sure how long the series is planned to be.
But anyway, I want to read it- (as always) one day maybe...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In My Mailbox 16th October 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.

It also gives me a chance to be nosy and see what everyone else has got to read, and so gives me plenty of new books to pine after!

This week I got...

From the Library:


Woo-hoo! It's been a week of new Richelle Mead books! I just love anything this author writes- Vampire Academy is one of my all-time favourite series and I feel like I have been waiting for these books forever! I had pre-ordered them both, but then remembered that I have to save money and must not buy any more books, so I had to cancel them. It's been so frustrating seeing other bloggers reading these books and knowing that I have to wait weeks for the library to get them! Finally!
  • Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead is the 6th and final installment of the Succubus series- such a fantastic urban fantasy series, funny and clever, with a feisty lead woman, and a heartbreaking love story, full of ups and downs. There are also vampires and their fondue parties, alcoholic angels, and demons galore. And Seth. *sighs*.  I've read it already and love it- 4.5 of 5 stars, review to come.
  • Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. This is a spin off series from the Vampire Academy series featuring Sydney, Adrian and Jill. I can't wait to read this one.
Kindle Books:

  • Jenny Pox by JL Bryan. This is book 1 in the Supernaturals series and it looks fantastic. This is getting really good reviews, so I'm really excited to read it. This is free for kindle at the moment on Amazon.
That was all my books for this week- lots of reading to catch up on. What did you get this week?
Happy reading!


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Interview with author Apryl Baker

Today I'd like to welcome Apryl Baker, author of the debut novel The Promise to the blog .

Read my review of the book here.

To read more reviews and to read the synopsis of the book check out the Goodreads page.

1.How long have you been working on The Promise, how did the idea come about?

I worked on the book for about a year. I call it my little Post-It Note idea. I was driving home from work and listening to Theory of A Dead Man’s Not Meant to Be. I passed this little community called New Salem and the image of a girl sitting beside a gravestone popped into my head. I couldn’t shake it so when I got home, I jotted it down on a yellow sticky and stuck it on the wall beside my computer. Over the next few days, I kept jotting down ideas and before I knew it I had a complete outline of a book on a wall of yellow, purple, and pink.

2.The Promise is about a small, close-knit town of witches who cast spells using the five elements. How hard was it to get the world of witches and spells right, and all the rules and mythology of this world, and make it seem real? Did anything ever change during the writing of the book, or has it all stayed as you originally planned?

Oh my goodness, it changed so much over the course of a year. I was lucky enough to be pointed to an online writing group by Susie Townsend of Fine Print Literary - Those people on there are brutal, but they were the best help I could have ever asked for. They were always brutally honest, never hesitated to tear my work to shreds if something didn't work, and were the first ones to shout when I got it right. I have made some wonderful friends there and they are a holy terror when it comes to fixing my

I wanted to create a world where magic was commonplace at least amongst the people of the town while keeping the real world as much involved as I could. That part was the hardest, taking something as fantastical as spellcrafing and grounding it into reality. I did a lot of research. I can still remember going into the local library and asking if they had any books on witchcraft and witchcraft initiation ceremonies. The little lady behind the desk was seventy if she was a day. She looked at me like I'd just sprouted horns and asked where the sacrificial dagger She told me in a very quiet voice, no. Suffice to say, I relied on books I could purchase after that. She still gives me odd looks when I go in there.

For me, the magic had to be believeable. I worked hard to get it right and hopefully I have. We'll see as more people read it and let me know.

3.I love the idea of being able to control the elements- Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Spirit. CJ can warm herself up if she's too cold, or cool down if she's too hot- very handy! She uses Spirit to help heal her friends. What would you most like to be able to cast spells for? Will CJ be able to control her powers and do more in book 2?

I'm a bit grounded, but I have a huge imagination. I think Earth would be my Element. It's everchanging, but essentially stays the same. I'm always changing, but my basic personality is essentially the same: nice, but a huge flirt.
CJ will learn to control her powers more as she gets deeper and deeper into the books. She is the coven leader for the Circle she must find to face the darkness coming. That much power is very heady. The real question is will she be able to handle all the power she has to unlock and control it or will it control her?

4.CJ and Kay are both very confident girls. Are any of the characters in The Promise based on anyone you know in real life?

I grew up in a very disfunctional family, but I was lucky enough to have the guidance of my aunt who taught me to be strong, no matter how hard life is. She was my life raft in some very murky waters and she taught me how to be the rock that anchors the raft. So, I would say she is very much a part of both Cassie and Kay. Her strength and confidence is where I found my own and she is who I think of when I think of strong characters.

5.Some of the story involves looking back into the past at the Salem Witch Trials. Did you have to do a lot of historical research for these scenes?

I have always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and have read every book known to man on them. So, yes, my research was quite extensive as I've been reading about them for the better part of 15 years.

6.Ethan is the tall, dark and handsome stranger in town. Was it fun writing the scenes between CJ and Ethan?

How can it not have been fun to write about Mr. Melt In Your Mouth Gorgeous? He is CJ's own personal M&M. They are so funny and sweet and you find yourself hoping and praying he doesn't betray her. You'll laugh, you'll blush yourself silly, you'll put down the book at certain times when you are embarrassed for her. It makes you remember those first few days of a crush and you get to relive all those emotions through CJ.

One of our teens that read it, emailed me when she'd finished reading it that at one point she actually threw the book across the room and then ran to pick it up because she just had to know what happened. That is probably the best compliment I have ever recieved on the book. CJ and Ethan inspired that level of emotion in a girl that read it in one sitting. I am grateful my little sticky note novel could inspire those kinds of emotions in people. If I can make one person feel something, then I've done my job as a writer and entertained you.

7.If your book was being made into a movie who would you envision in the leading roles?

That's an easy one, the same people rambling around in my head as I wrote. I'm a visual writer and as I watch a ton of movies, my mind just picks people out and that's who I see as I write; a movie playing in my head.

Cassie: Emma Roberts
Ethan: Jake Abel

Kay: Phoebe Tonkin
Jeff: Matt Lanter

8.Have there ever been any books that you've read and thought "I wish I'd written that"?

All the time. The most recent one is Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I've had an idea similar to it and when I read it, I thought to myself, huh. That was perfect for what I wanted to do, but I must say she did it so much better than I could I love that book.

9.Can you write anywhere or do you have a special place/ routine where you have to write?

My dad tells me I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I used to show him these nonsense scribbles and tell him my crazy stories of what they meant. I tend to write anywhere, anytime. I am still fond of my sticky notes. If I'm at work and an idea pops into my head, it goes down onto a sticky note. If I'm home, I stop what I'm doing and scribble things down.

I do try to spend at least one hour a day writing in the same place. Outside on my back porch where its quiet. At least until my cat comes out and the birds take to teasing him by swooping down and then soaring up just as he jumps to catch them. He makes this insane warble and his entire mouth quivers. I laugh myself silly every time I see it.

10.What's next in store for CJ, Kay, Jeff and the others in book 2 of the Coven series?

CJ meets Melinda in book 2, titled The Oath. Melinda's element is Earth and she is the next member of the Circle that CJ must form to fight the evil that is coming. Melinda's sister killed herself and Melinda discovers she was driven to do it by a group of so called witches. Her goal: revenge. It is a much darker book than The Promise, but there is just as much romance and blushing involved in The Oath as there was in The Promise. Jeff continues to warm our hearts and even I find myself rooting for him as I write. Ethan is just simply delicious and you melt when you read the scenes between him and Cassie as always.

Thankyou so much for answering all my questions, and for talking to me about your book and about writing!

Buy the book:

Amazon UK                          -                  Amazon US
(paperback and kindle)         -                 (paperback and kindle)

Also, check out Apryl's blog for author information and to read the first chapter of The Promise for free.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Review: The Promise by Apryl Baker

The Promise (The Coven)The Promise by Apryl Baker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Cassie Jayne Bishop grew up in the sleepy town of New Salem, NC, the only non-believer in the tradition and power of the town Coven. When a stranger comes to New Salem, everything she thought was normal about her life unravels around her. Ethan makes her question everything, even her sister’s death in a car crash years ago. As Cassie discovers the full truth about her heritage, and the clues start to pile up, she becomes determined to find out if the Coven was actually involved in her sister's death. What she uncovers terrifies her.

Her fate lies at the very heart of the secret the Coven protects. It’s the reason she was born. Now, betrayed on every side, can she find a way to survive or will she be the catalyst that triggers a centuries old act of vengeance.

Book 1 in the Coven series

Cassie-Jayne (CJ) lives in a small town called New Salem, a close-knit community of witches that has always kept the secret of their magic hidden from the rest of the world. But since the sudden death of her sister in a car accident 3 years ago CJ has completely withdrawn from the Coven and refuses to attend the meetings. But with whispers about a curse, pressure from all sides to attend the coven meetings, and then finding a desperate last diary entry from her sister, it is clear that SOMETHING unusual is going on. CJ has to gradually unravel the mystery surrounding the town and what it has to do with her and her upcoming eighteenth birthday. As clues start falling into place CJ also has to face the possibility that her sister was murdered by the coven that she had loved.

The idea of a magical coven masquerading as a normal town was cleverly woven seamlessly into the book, and all the magical elements of the story, the summoning of the 5 elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit) felt very believable. There is a back history in the book which links back to the Salem Witch Trials, and the legends that have persisted in New Salem tie back into the events of that time. CJ originally doesn't believe in all the tales of the magic, and although accepts it in others, refuses to believe it herself. CJ is a great heroine with a modern teen voice, who is obsessed with shoes and boys, a great mix of teen confidence, and a kind of naive vulnerability. I always found myself rooting for her and hoping that she would be okay. I also loved CJ's lifetime best friend Kay- someone you definitely wouldn't want to mess with, a toughnut who wouldn't hesitate to come after anyone who upset her BFF. (Like Jeff, who in kindergarten stole CJ's toy and Kay pushed him down and kicked him as hard as she could). I really liked Jeff, CJ's neighbour, who has a major crush on CJ, but who the girls avoid, and felt a little bit sorry for him! I always fall for the loyal and dependable guy! But then there is Ethan, the new boy in town, who CJ is drawn to, but she is just not sure if she can trust him.

Gripping, but dark in places, full of twists, turns and surprises, unexpected betrayals, and allies in unexpected places, The Promise is a great teen witchy novel. It's a gripping mystery story, with a slow unravelling of secrets, creeping tension, magic, and an endearing love story.

Tomorrow on the blog there will be an interview with author Apryl Baker, where she will be talking about writing The Promise, (what she calls her little post-it note idea of a book), and giving some clues about book 2 in the Coven series.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

In My Mailbox 9th October 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers can talk about the books they've gotten the past week- whether bought, borrowed, swapped or given for review. This feature was started to increase interaction between bloggers and increase our awareness of all the new books coming out.
It also gives me a chance to be nosy and see what everyone else has got to read, and gives me plenty of new books to pine after!

These are all the books that came into my home this past week-

From the Library:
Whoops, I've overdone it with the reservations again, and as always they all seem to have come in at once! I'm not sure I'm going to have time to read all of these before they have to go back, but I really want to read all of them!

  • Dark Angel by Eden Maguire. I've been pining after this book since before it came out, and I love the sound of it. Angels and magic... and rock and roll. I liked Eden Maguire's other series The Beautiful Dead, so I'm hoping to read this book soon.
Review at Book Angel Booktopia

  • Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson. I wasn't going to give this book a second glance but I keep seeing such glowing reviews about it from other bloggers- all 5 stars. I'm intrigued now- I have to read it! Review at Irresistible Reads.
  • Cloaked by Alex Flinn. I've read Beastly and A Kiss In Time by this author and just love them. Modern re-tellings of old fairytales in a style that is both sweet and romantic and very funny. I'm looking forward to diving into this one about a princess and shoemaker. Review at Magic of Reading
  • Emerald by Karen Wallace. It was a review on a blog (that I now can't find!) that made me really want to read this book. This is a historical novel set in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, and has political intrigues, mystery and romance. Aimed at younger teens.  
  • The Missing by Lisa Mcmann. This was published under the title Cryer's Cross in the US and other parts of the world. This is about a small close-knit town and how they react when high-schoolers start disappearing without a trace. Review at Books For Company.
  • Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent. This is an adult urban fantasy book (I think), and will have to be my next Rachel Vincent fix until the next Soul Screamers book comes out! This sounds like a very good, very dark paranormal romance book. Review at My Keeper Shelf.

  • Hexed and Hammered by Kevin Hearn. These are books 2 and 3 in the Iron Druid Chronicles. I thought book 1- Hounded was only okay, but I want to see how the series finishes, and these were in the Audible autumn sale so I got them.

For Review:
I'm so excited about both of these, they were both on my wishlist!

  • Prized by Caragh O'Brien. This is book 2 in the Birthmarked series. I finished Birthmarked last week and loved it (review to come). Another dystopian series, but very good and very clever. I will be reading this one very soon. Thanks to Macmillan Publishing and Netgalley for the advance review copy of this book. This is being published in November.

  • Tempest by Julia Cross. I love the sound of this one- I first saw it on The Story Siren blog. It's about a nineteen year old college guy who can time travel, and when his girfriend is killed he goes back in time to try and save her. Thanks to Macmillan Publishing and Netgalley for the advance copy of this book. This is published January 2012.
Those were all the books I got last week- I got some fantastic looking books and I can't wait to read them all.
What did you get in your mailbox?
Happy reading!


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