Monday, 27 April 2015

Review & Giveaway: Cold Burn of Magic - Jennifer Estep



Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)
by Jennifer Estep
Publisher: K-Teen
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. 

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. 

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .


I'm a great fan of Jennifer Estep's adult series, Elemental Assassin featuring Gin. I've also had the first in her YA Mythos Academy series on my wishlist since it first came out but something about Cold Burn of Magic really appealed to me so it became the first YA book by Estep that I read.

Cold Burn of Magic is the story of Lila, an orphan, making her way in the town of Cloudburst Falls where she lives in the basement of the local library and earns money working for Mo, the owner of the pawn shop who was also a friend of her mother's. What's different about is the town is it's magical, there are monsters, fairies and trolls under the bridge. What's different about some of the town's inhabitants is that they have Talents, whether they be of Speed, Sight or Strength but there are also rare Talents and our protagonist is (un)lucky enough to have one. The town is run by the Families, akin to the Mob almost but with magic. Lila doesn't belong to any Family but becomes embroiled in one after saving the only son of one of the most prominent Families in town.

Thanks to her Talents, her knowledge and her fighting skills Lila becomes bodyguard to Devon, the Sinclair heir and quickly realizes that it's not as simple as she thinks keeping someone alive, especially when you don't know why they are after him in the first place. Moved into the palatial surroundings of the Sinclair mansion Lila has to adapt - fast, if she wants to stay alive, especially as it was thanks to the Sinclairs that her mom was killed. 

Lila is a great heroine, one of my favorites in fact! She's strong, smart and knows the right thing to do for her - even if that means ignoring the pull between herself and Devon. Devon is interesting in his own right. Most of the Family members think he is Talentless and this is why he needs to be protected but this is not necessarily the case. Aside from our main couple there are great supporting characters in Mo (a lot like Fletcher from the Assassin books), Felix (Devon's best friend) and Oscar the beer swilling, redneck pixie who quite possibly made the book for me.

Cold Burn of Magic is a page turner, I read it in one sitting because I wanted to know exactly what was happening and how it was all going to end! There are surprises along the way - a possible ally in the last place you would expect, a traitor you would never have thought of - and the struggle Lila has following in her mom's footsteps. Jennifer Estep has created another intriguing, likeable main character in Lila and I cannot wait to find out what happens next in Dark Heart of Magic.


Follow the Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.
Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.





Saturday, 25 April 2015

Dewey Read-a-thon Time Again!

http://24hourreadathon.com/

It's that time again folks! Read-a-thon time! This is my fourth or fifth, maybe even my sixth Dewey read-a-thon and, I'm hoping, my best one yet, I haven't got any books lined up as I've discovered I read best in these situations by completely winging it! It all kicks off at 1pm UK time so I'm going to shower, get dressed. get my snacks ready and start thinking about what my first book might be.

I'll be doing semi-regular updates here on the blog but if my internet connection is anything like it's been the last two days (non-existent) I'll probably either be on Twitter or nowhere. Wish me luck!

Hour 0 - Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Sunny Somerset in the UK

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

All of them!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Peanut Butter M&M's

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a bookseller, a bookaholic, a reader, an insomniac, a collector...

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Stay awake! And hopefully find an internet connection every time I want to update!

Hours 1 - 4

Chosen my first book!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20738167-a-little-in-love?ac=1

And my second book...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19523450-my-brother-s-shadow

Hours 5 - 8

Trying to choose book number three and time for some dinner!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22856248-not-as-we-know-it?ac=1
Book #4

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20820994-i-ll-give-you-the-sun?ac=1
Hours 9 - 12

Internet went off a while back so no online updates from for a while. Noy unless I want to go and stand in the back garden in the dark to find the wi-fi hotspot! Still reading I'll Give You The Sun and nodded off for an hour!

Hours 13 - 16

Feeling wide awake after my cat nap! Looking for book number five...

Call me crazy but picked up

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14201.Jonathan_Strange_Mr_Norrell?ac=1

The BBC have made a seven part adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell so I want to reread it before the show starts. Only thing I'm not looking forward to about the tv version is that they've cast Marc Warren as The Gentleman With Thistledown Hair and I'm not a huge fan.

Hours 17 - 20

Fast asleep after reading 50 pages of Jonathan Strange!

Hours 21 - 24

It's nearly all over...


Book Haul #110, Or The One Where I Didn't Buy Any Books...


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

Yes, you read that blog post title correctly! I didn't buy a single book this week, at least up until Thursday when I wrote this post. I may not have bought any books but I still spent a small fortune. I bought my tickets for ComicCon in London in July and booked my hotel room - six minute walk from the convention center, so probably just as well. I did get a couple of review titles this week though that I've been really looking forward to so that more than made up for it.

Last but not least, it's #Read-a-thon Day on Saturday! I think I'll mostly be updating on Twitter but I will have an ongoing blog post with book updates so if you feel like cheering me on that would be amazing!

Review Books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24643126-phoenix-rising?ac=1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22095753-becoming-darkness?ac=1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22822951-the-night-mayor

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21939074-cities-and-thrones?ac=1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22318498-the-floating-city?ac=1

Friday, 24 April 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway: My Top Ten UKYA Books by Louisa Reid

Top Ten UKYA books

There is so much happening in the UKYA world right now and it’s a very exciting place to be for new writers (and old!), but with so many new books coming out all the time, it’s also hard to keep up with the reading. Frankly, I don’t know how bloggers do it. Here are ten of the UKYA books I’ve read and loved in the past few years, all of which I really wish I’d written. There’s a brilliant tradition of YA writing which we’re so lucky to have in the UK and which only seems to get better. I’m in awe of all of these writers: the tightness of their plots and prose and their characters who have you utterly rooting for them.


  1. Maggot Moon: Sally Gardner This book will always be at the top of a ‘best of’ list for me because of the way it made me weep. It is so heart-breaking, so frightening and so full of love that it’s an absolute must-read.
  2. Cuckoo Song: Frances Hardinge I love the magical, fairytale quality of this story. It manages to be truly frightening and mind-bendingly clever at the same time.  But what really sets Frances Hardinge apart is the quality of her writing. Every single sentence is a joy. The doubling in the story is another thing that draws me to this one. Anything which is features this motif is always a hit with me.


  3. Bunker Diary: Kevin Brooks This book caused so much controversy that I don’t think I need to say too much about it, other than it is harsh, completely brutal and utterly gripping. But it is a story that is not without love and not without hope and all the more devastating because of this. The main character is beautifully humane and I loved the relationships he builds with other captives, despite their horrendous circumstances.
  4. A Song For Ella Grey: David Almond  I am in awe of David Almond’s writing and this book is pure poetry. I love the depiction of female friendship and the intensity of feelings that he portrays in this magical, dreamy story. It grabbed my imagination from the outset and the evocation of the north-east of England is irresistible. I’ll be getting my husband, who’s a Sunderland chap, to read it too. We’re both David Almond fans.


  5. Before I Die: Jenny Downham Another weepy. A fantastically written story that I never hear mentioned these days. The ending has stayed with me ever since I first read the book about five years ago -  it’s just so powerful and had me in floods of tears. I can’t wait to read her new book, which I believe is coming soon.
  6. Looking for JJ: Anne Cassidy A fascinating and gripping story with a tragic premise. This is a YA must-read. I could not put it down.
7. Code Name Verity: Elizabeth Wein A very clever WWII story with a big feminist message. It’s beautifully written too, and really gripping.
8. A Swift Pure Cry: Siobhan Dowd Grief, love and growing up are dealt with in this novel so sensitively and beautifully that it’s irresistible.
9. The Weight of Water: Sarah Crossan Such a quick and gripping read, made extra special by the really interesting stylistic choice of writing a novel as a prose poem. I think she deals brilliantly with bullying and the frustration and alienation felt by immigrants. It’s an important book, I think, for our times.


10. Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne A wonderful premise, brilliantly executed. Tanya’s writing is so punchy and vivid and her narrator is fabulously twisty. I can’t wait for For Holly, coming this summer, I believe!

 About the Author

Louisa Reid is a writer and teacher living on the Fen Edge. Her debut novel, BLACK HEART BLUE was published in 2012 by Penguin and was shortlisted for the North East Teen Book Award and longlisted for the Carnegie and Branford Boase awards. Her second novel, LIES LIKE LOVE was published in July 2014 by Penguin.


Giveaway

Prizes include

  • One signed copy of Lies Like Love
  • One signed copy of Black Heart Blue
  • One Bundle of swag

a Rafflecopter giveaway  



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #118 - Zeroes


Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -


Zeroes - Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
ISBN - 9781481443364
Publisher - Simon Pulse
Release date - September 29 2015

'Ethan, aka "Scam", has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.' - Goodreads

I haven't heard much about Zeroes but with Scott Westerfeld and Margo Lanagan so it can't be all bad! I'm intrigued by the synopsis so will definitely be looking out for a copy of this one.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #87 - Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors!


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Twelve Fifteen ALL TIME Favorite Authors

When I saw that the all-time favorite authors were this week's topic I snorted! Because who's going to be able to stick to ten? Well, me it would seem... Actually, not me! Have added another three authors before even getting started. And I know I'm going to kick myself when I see other people's lists and think of a hundred more I could have added. Anyway, here's fifteen of my favorite authors... Oh, and this list doesn't include people like Jasper Fforde, Alan Garner, Tolkien, L M Montgomery, Dickens, Hardy, Austen, and Bronte. It also doesn't include Patrick Rothfuss, Marcus Sedgwick, Diana Wynne Jones or George R R Martin because I think they are far too obvious (to me anyway) to be mentioned. And I can still think of at least another ten authors on top of those I would consider all-time favorites.

Freda Warrington

First Book Read - Dark Cathedral
Favorite Book - Court of the Midnight King

Catherynne Valente

First Book Read - Palimpsest

Angela Carter 

First Book Read - The Magic Toyshop

Frances Hardinge

First Book Read - Fly By Night
Favorite Book - Cuckoo Song

Charles de Lint 

First Book Read - Moonheart
Favorite Book - The Little Country

 Phil Rickman

First Book Read - Crybbe
Favorite Book - The Cure of Souls

Jo Walton 

First Book Read - The King's Peace
Favorite Book - Among Others

Juliet Marillier

First Book Read - Daughter of the Forest
Favorite Book - Daughter of the Forest

Neil Gaiman 

First Book Read - Neverwhere
Favorite Book - The Graveyard Book

Kate Forsyth

First Book Read - The Witches of Eileanan
Favorite Book - Bitter Greens

Stephen King 

First Book Read - 'Salem's Lot
Favorite Book - IT

Terry Pratchett

First Book Read - The Color of Magic
Favorite Book - Wyrd Sisters

Susanna Kearsley

First Book Read - Season of Storms

Sarah Pinborough

First Book Read - A Matter of Blood
Favorite Book - Poison

Susan Cooper

First Book Read - Over Sea Under Stone
Favorite Book - The Dark Is Rising

Monday, 20 April 2015

Bookmarked... #3


The return of the weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading and I have her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons :) If you want to join in check out all the links here!

Thanks to my unplanned holiday I didn't really do much reading over the last couple of weeks! This obviously means that my 'currently reading' still looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago. I'm hoping for a lot more reading time this week, especially as it's the read-a-thon on Saturday! I'm trying my new style of read-a-thon reading again and not choosing anything beforehand.

Finished Reading

Hit - Delilah S Dawson
Lies Like Love - Louisa Reid

Currently Reading

Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

 
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