Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Ceruleans #4 Devil and the Deep Release Day!

Today is the release day of Devil and the Deep, the fourth book in the Ceruleans series by Megan Tayte and to celebrate I am hosting a giveaway on the blog! Feel free to enter below along with reading an exclusive extract.


Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.

For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.
Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility.

And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.
But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:

When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

Read an extract from Devil and the Deep right here!

It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.
A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.
A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’
An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.
The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.
‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’
‘Did not,’ argued another.
‘Did too!’
‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’

Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’
I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.
But it was no good.
The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.
The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.
The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.
The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.
The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.

Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.
‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’
I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.
The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’
‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.
‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’
I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.
‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’
Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.

‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’
‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’
His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.

He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’
I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’
‘Yes, that.’
‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.
‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.
‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’
I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’
Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.
‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.
‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.
‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.
‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

Devil and the Deep is now available to purchase

You can enter the competition to win a tote bag here!

Find more information on the Ceruleans series by checking out Megan's website

Be sure to follow her on twitter and goodreads!

Check out the rest of the books in the series!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review on 'The Selection'

When America Singer enters The Selection, her life changes forever. She must compete with thirty four other girls in an attempt to win the heart of Prince Maxon and become the next queen of Illéa. But America’s heart lies with Aspen Leger, a boy from caste 6 who she has been in love with for the past two years. All America wants is to go home so she can marry the boy she loves, but with the palace providing her family with much needed money, America knows she has to stick it out for as long as she can. But everything is not just pretty dresses and dates with the prince. The palace is under attack by rebels, and America must hold her nerve if she is to remain in the palace.

I will admit that I only decided to read this book because of it’s popularity and the gorgeous cover. When I realised there was a love triangle I was highly skeptical, but knowing that it was set in a dystopian world kept me reading as I am always trash for dystopian YA. I loved the idea of capitalism going crazy and people being stuck in a certain trade based on who their family are. It seems like a frightening prospect that seems that it could easily happen in the future. The mention of a world war three had me curious, and I was desperate to learn more about what had happened to the USA to create  Illéa. I was slightly disappointed that this new country had so much potential to have an interesting and exciting back story, but it was not elaborated upon past the girls having a history lesson that didn’t go into too much detail. I was also interested in the rebels and the reasons why they were attacking the palace. The idea that they were looking for something specific was interesting and made me wonder what could be so important to them.

The main plot consisted of America competing with the other selected girls to win the hand of Prince Maxon. Like America I was initially unsure if i was going to like Maxon, but he grew on me as the story progressed. Where there is a love triangle, I usually have a strong preference for one boy, and this was definitely the case for The Selection, as I grew to love Maxon but I found Aspen to be quite cringy. I hated the idea he had of having to be the one to support America because he was the male. With the novel being set in the future, I was surprised that he still had this traditional approach, and I hated that he seemed offended by America bringing him food rather than being grateful. 

I was worried that i wasn’t going to like either of the boys involved in the love triangle, but I was glad when Maxon didn’t turn out to be pompous and big headed like I thought he was going to be. Despite being the prince, Maxon was down to earth and seemed to genuinely care about what was happening to the people in lower caste’s. I was rooting for America to see how sweet and caring Maxon was and to forget all about Aspen. I am definitely on team Maxon!

Although the book was quite slow in parts it definitely kept me entertained for the most part, and I enjoyed reading a light hearted book with a dystopian setting that wasn’t all about death and destruction. However I would love it if things were stepped up a bit in the rest of the series, as I am dying to know what the rebels are looking for! Although it wasn’t the best YA book i’ve ever read, it was interesting and I would love to find out more about the rebels, and of course find out who Prince Maxon chooses to marry! I would describe this book as a slightly darker Disney princess story, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance novels with a bit of a twist.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Review on 'Angelhood'

After taking her own life, Nanette Dunston is ready to accept the peace she thinks she deserves. However, she finds herself watching the life of a freshman girl who she has never seen before. Nanette soon learns that she is a guardian angel, and she must do everything in her power to stop this girl from taking her own life just as she had if she ever wants to reach heaven. But with an absent father and a dead mother, Vera's life is anything but happy. She has planned a date to end her life, and as that date looms ever closer, Nanette must find a way to make Vera change her mind.

This book immediately caught my interest when I read the synopsis. Nanette has had a hard life to say the least, and after getting rejected from the college of her dreams and watching her best friend die in a car accident, she is ready to end it all, but once she does, she immediately regrets it. She misses her life, and although she has been appointed to be Vera’s guardian, she also feels that it’s her duty to keep her little sister safe.

Nanette was an interesting protagonist, and I loved the idea of showing there were no second chances, that once you killed yourself you couldn't go back. I felt that it gave a positive message to anyone who was thinking about suicide that things will get better, as she realises that all her problems weren't worth killing herself over after all and that eventually she would have been able to work past them. Seeing the aftermath of her suicide by realising how depressed her sister is is hard hitting for Nanette, who previously thought that she would be better off without her as she would be able to go to ballet school, only to find out that she has not danced in the past two years. Everyone at some point feels as if they are alone and that no one cares about them, and it was interesting to see Nanette discover how much her death had impacted the lives of her family.

The moment Warren was introduced I was expecting him to be a love interest for Nanette. However I was extremely surprised that romantic feelings did not happen between them, and Warren became more of a mentor to Nanette than a love interest. It is extremely rare to come across a YA novel where there is little to no romance, so I found this to be a pleasant change. Nanette acted exactly like I would expect someone in that situation to act. She kept her focus on helping Vera and her sister, and didn't let an infatuation with a cute boy stand in her way which is what made me love her so much.

I have to talk about the ending which infuriated me and is the only reason why the book isn't getting a five star review from me. Anything that comes near to “they woke up and it was potentially all a dream” makes my blood boil. I was told by a teacher when I was young to never end a story with “and it was all a dream,” and that has stuck with me to the point where if a story ever points towards that it annoys me. I find it lazy on the authors behalf, and it ruined the initial idea of there being no second chances. I felt that the idea of Sophy asking to remain a Guardian was the direction in which Nanette was heading, and felt that she would ask to be her sisters Guardian so that she would be able to guide her through life and make sure she was safe. For me, this would have been the perfect ending, so I was disappointed when it didn't end the way I thought it would. However despite the disappointing ending I enjoyed this book and thought that it gave an important message.

Angelhood is now available to purchase HERE

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review on Midnight Texas #2 Day Shift

After Manfred Bernado’s client Rachel Goldthorpe suddenly dies right in front of him after the bodies of a couple are discovered in the same building, he becomes one of the main suspects to the cause of her death. To make matters worse, Rachel was extremely wealthy, and her son Lewis is convinced that Manfred stole the jewellery he believed she had been carrying round in her purse. But Manfred isn’t the only one in Midnight facing problems. A mysterious man shows up in town, leaving behind his son in the care of the Reverend Sheehan. Who is this boy, and why is he growing so fast? Manfred and the other residents of Midnight must help to clear Manfred’s name, along with finding out more about the mysterious child, and the reason behind the Midnight hotel opening it’s doors once more.

After reading Midnight Crossroad, I was eager to find out more about the interesting characters who resided in the small town of Midnight. Little is learnt about what each character’s secret is in the first book, and I was looking forward to finding out the motivations for them living in such a small town. i was not disappointed in that aspect, as plenty is revealed about certain characters, particularly Olivia, Joe, Chuy and The Rev. I loved how each character’s secret was revealed, and although it was obvious from the start that they all had their own personal secrets, I was surprised by what their secrets were when they were finally revealed.

As with the first book, I found Day Shift to be quite slow for about the first three quarters. The story revolves around Manfred being accused of murdering his client and stealing hew jewellery, with the notorious Lewis Goldthorpe accusing him of the crimes. Manfred is trying hard to clear his name with the help of fellow Midnight resident Olivia Charity by means of trying to prove he didn’t kill Rachel, and trying to locate the missing jewellery. Although they were some exciting action scenes such as Olivia attempting to break into the Goldthorpe house, I found it to be somewhat lacking for a novel firmly set in the supernatural genre.

The introduction of Diederik was interesting, as it was clear from the start that he was not a normal child, and I found myself eager to find out the reason why he was growing so fast. I made a few assumptions as the book went along, and as I am usually good at taking accurate guesses, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that all my assumptions had been wrong. I loved this as there is a moment in the novel where it seems completely obvious what Diederik is, but everything is turned completely around towards the end of the novel.

I started to enjoy the novel a lot more once it came to the last quarter, as the pace picked up and I was eager to find out why the residents of Midnight were so worried about being outside after sunset. The climax was both shocking and exciting, and I think the book could have been improved by keeping the reader on their toes throughout the novel, as I found the legal business with Manfred’s lawyer and the sheriff constantly dropping by to be quite dull. 

I loved that some of the characters who I thought were underdeveloped in the first book were given more of a personality and a reason for being in the town, but I still felt that it needed to be expanded on, particularly in the cases of Joe and Chuy. I loved that their true nature had been subtly hinted at in the first book, as I had not picked up on it at all and at the time thought it had been setting the scene and had no significant meaning to the plot. Although i loved learning more about some of the characters, I was disappointed that Lemuel was absent for the majority of the novel, as i had initially found him to be really interesting and had thought that he would have had more of a storyline in Day Shift. I would love to hear more about Lemuel’s backstory, along with some other characters who I still feel I don’t know well enough. As this is the second book in the series, I feel as if i should know more about certain characters by this point than I do.

Although I did find the book tedious in some parts, and it took me longer to get through that it normally would due to my willingness to put the book down mid chapter, I did enjoy certain aspects of the story and felt that some of the sub plots would have been more interesting if they had been expanded on rather than the main focus being on Manfred being accused of stealing jewellery, which is quite a mundane storyline compared to Diderik’s. However I did enjoy this book more than Midnight Texas, and hope that it continues to improve.

Day Shift is now available to purchase in both physical and ebook formats.

Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out Midnight Crossroad, the first book in the Midnight Texas series