Saturday, 25 August 2012

ARC Review: What's Left of Me

*I've decided that whenever I'm reviewing an ARC/early copy of a book, I will call it an 'ARC Review' in the title so as to put more of a spotlight on the upcoming book and author. (:

Author: Kat Zhang
Edition: HarperCollins ARC
Release: September 27th 2012
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Pages: 356 approx.

Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?

When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind...


MY REVIEW:

This is, without a doubt, one of the best debuts ever written! I loved it! Even now, I am still in awe of the plotline. It was just so unique! I have never read anything like this before and that was probably the main reason I adored it so much. It was just so different from everything else out there - really unusual and imaginative!

And the world-building, you ask? Well let's just say I wouldn't want to be Eva or Addie considering what they had to go through! Zhang managed to paint some pretty vivid images into my mind with her words and description. I just really can't get over how amazing this debut was! Usually first books aren't the best... but this one? Wow-ee!

The main character and narrator, Eva (aka. the less dominant soul) was really likeable straight away. She was strong brave, kind, caring... very multi-dimensional! Addie (aka. the more dominant soul) was also a great character. However, she did manage to try my patience a little because, at times, she could be a bit stubborn towards Eva and do what she wanted - which was unfair as Eva didn't have the power to overpower her. But she did always manage to pull through at the end showing just how much she cared for Eva which was sweet. There were also a few other enjoyable characters introduced as well. And for all you romance lovers out there, you'll be glad to know that there is something for you in this book too! But that's all I'm saying in the matter. ;)

With great characters, an amazing storyline and some scary, vivid world-building, What's Left of Me turned out to be a great page-turner that I recommend to everybody who's willing to give it a shot! The story also includes one heck of an ending! Talk about bittersweet! I literally need book two as soon as possible - which is sometime late next year probably! :(

FIVE STARS! xD
A BIG thank you goes out to HarperCollins for sending me this book to review

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 24 August 2012

Follow Friday #8

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Every week there are two featured blogs and a fun question to answer, so head on over to join in!

Qu: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you've read and loved?


My pick for this week's question is Milledgeville Misfit by T.L. Gray. It's not that I think it has a terrible cover or anything (it almost, in a way, goes with the story), it's just that it's a little dull, dreary and not at all eye-catching. However, it was an absolutely AMAZING book! So touching, emotional and... brilliant! At the moment; my favourite! You can find my full review of it HERE. :D

What about you? If you follow, thanks a billion! I promise to return the favour if you leave a link! ^.^

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: Fated

Author: Alyson Noel
Edition: St. Martin's Press Paperback
Released: May 24th 2012
Series: The Soul Seekers #1
Pages: 447

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.


MY REVIEW:

I ADORED THIS BOOK! There, I said it. Simple. First impressions: Wow, this sounds amazing! Last impressions: This was amazing! I know that a lot of people don't always see eye to eye with some of Noel's books, but I have to say, Fated really worked for me. I loved the characters, the storyline - ohmyGOSH, the storyline! - and just really enjoyed the time spent when I was reading.

I can see how some readers might not enjoy this as much though. The writing style is slightly... strange, I admit. A lot of sentences start with -ing words and, even though I managed to see past that as I just LOVED the storyline, I can see how it would annoy others. We each have our own preferences when it comes to books. And I know some can be more particular about the writing over other features. Me? The storyline is probably the most important for me to be able to score a book highly, followed very closely by the characters. I rarely fault a book that badly - maybe half a star/a star took off at the most - if it's just the writing style I can't quite settle into (unless I REALLY don't like it). But since I know that other readers can prefer different things, I thought I'd point that out.

But yes, as previously mentioned, I adored the storyline! It was so unique and different and... UNIQUE! If you haven't quite got it yet, I love unique books! I've not ever came across a book quite like this one! I can only hand a virtual cupcake to the author for coming up with it! I mean, the Vision Quest scene? Loved! How exactly did you manage to come up with that, Miss Noel? I can only praise your imagination!

Then, of course, there's Daire. I really enjoyed her character and narration. She's strong, confident, brave, can stick up for herself and always manages to pull through. What she was going through (the crows etc!) is something I can only imagine, it'd be horrible and, frankly, quite creepy! The love interest, Dace is so genuinely lovely you can't help but like him too! It's near impossible to hate someone so nice! There is one thing that bothered me though. The description of his hair. This will sound pretty strange... but I got the impression that it was like Jacob-from-Twilight style - aka. long long. I really hope I'm mistaken and it's just suppose to be shoulder length but... Have any of you read this and got that same impression? Or was that just me? :3

Overall, I found Fated a really great, memorable read with strong characters and a very unusual storyline. Admittedly, I couldn't quite settle into the writing style. But the overall uniqueness of it all cancelled most of that out. I do warn you that not everybody will enjoy this though. However, I do say you should at least give it a chance!

FOUR AND A HALF STARS! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Just feel like sending out a BIG, MASSIVE thank you to all my followers and to those that comment. I <3 you all! -in a really cheesy mood tonight- ;)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Winner of a Signed Copy of Angel Dust!

Hello everyone!

Last night the giveaway of a signed copy of Angel Dust ended. And now the winner has been chosen.

A BIG congratulations to the very lucky winner... Gillian H!

Well done, Gillian - I hope you enjoy your prize! But to those of you who didn't win, no worries! Another giveaway is on it's way to you very soon! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: You can check out my interview with the lovely author, Sarah Mussi HERE! :)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Review: Abandon


Author: Meg Cabot
Edition: MacMillan Paperback
Released: September 1st 2011
Series: Abandon Trilogy #1
Pages: 292

Pierce knows what it's like to die.

Last year she flatlined following an accident.

During that time Pierce saw a dark world and met a mysterious, irresistible boy.

Now that boy, John Hayden, has turned up at school. Every time she sees him Pierce finds herself in terrible danger. Yet she's still drawn to him.

John wants to take her back to the place she fears the most: the Underworld.

The question is, why?


MY REVIEW:

Lately I've been reading quite a few books based around Greek mythology, and the majority of them have included the Persephone myth. And this book was no exception. It had great, dimensional characters and a gripping storyline (though I have to admit that I'm now seeing quite a lot of similarites in Persephone based books now).

The main character, Pierce was very kind-hearted and selfless but strong at the same time. She had just the right amount of vulnerability and bravery to make her a perfect main character for this story. Her narration was engrossing and was definitely one of the reasons that I kept turning the pages. And of course there's John. The exact type of male character I love! You got it - dark, brooding, mysterious and loveable. Ahhh.

Not until I'd finished this book and was looking up the author, had I realised I'd actually read a book by her before. Avalon High. And if I had known about that sooner, then I would certainly have had much higher expectations. As I'd absolutely loved that book! So I suppose I can probably recommend both Abandon and Avalon High now!

I've only got a teeny, weeny bit of criticism - and if I think about it, it's not actually that fair. I was going to say that this book had similarities to Everneath by Brodi Ashton, when in fact it's Everneath that has similarites to Abandon as it came out first. But, all the same, I think I'll be laying off the Persephone based books for a while - is it just me or does anyone else think that it's beginning to get a bit overused? However, don't get me wrong, this book does have a little twist on the myth. It's not like it's exactly the same or anything!

Overall, Abandon was still a great read with very easy-to-like characters and that great page-turning quality we all look for in a book. I easily recommend this to fans of Greek myths, Meg Cabot herself and romance-lovers (as well as anybody else who likes this sound of it!) as it still is a novel worth a read! I'm eagerly anticipating book two, Underworld, since I really want to know more about John's history and what will happen to them both next!

FOUR STARS! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Showcase Sunday #12

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.


For Review:

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (ARC) - All I can say is a HUGE thank you to HarperCollins for sending me out this book! It was AMAZING - I absolutely loved it! Look out for a review of this sometime soon. :D

Pegasus and the Flame by Kate O'Hearn - I got this book through the mail courtesy of Hachette (big thanks!) and am really excited to read it! Hopefully I'll get on to it soon! :)

So that's all from me this week, I'm really happy about the books I got! What about you? Leave links to your own book hauls below and I'll hop on over!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Review: Dark Parties

Author: Sara Grant
Edition: Orion Indigo (Library) Hardback
Released: December 22nd 2011
Series: No (standalone)
Pages: 264

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.


MY REVIEW:

Ever since reading a review of this book over at Page-turner, I'd really want to read this. It looked like a dystopian I would thoroughly enjoy, and I did! It had a really unusual storyline, well-layered characters and I would definitely recommend it to all dystopian fans.

I suppose I should warn you that this book might not be for everyone. The only reason I'm pointing this out is because I have read some reviews in which they didn't particularly enjoy it. But if you were to ask me, I would still say that this is worth a pick-up as it has such an original storyline. For instance, how many books have you read when you're introduced to a rebellion straight away? Usually dystopian books lead up to the rebellion but this isn't the case for Dark Parties - straight away you're introduced to rebellious characters etc. It might have a slightly strange first chapter, but I definietly think you should stick with it!

The heroine, Neva, is a really brave and admirable character. If I were in her situation, stuck in a "Protectosphere", I would feel exactly like her - trapped. I loved how determined she was to never give up hope. She was just so multi-dimensional. Caring, considerate, brave, strong, fiery - always willing to do what it took. I really can't think of a better main character that could have been more perfect - she fit perfectly into the role.

Overall, I really enjoyed Dark Parties. At the beginning, I will admit that I was a little skeptical... but after a while I was gripped - maybe it was because it had that gripping quality that only books in present tense can pull off? So, yeah, if you're a dystopian fanatic, go try this out!

FOUR STARS! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 17 August 2012

A Prince from the Shadows: Giveaway Winners!

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't updated for the past two days (shocking, eh)?! I was too busy treasuring the last moments of freedom as it was back to school today! :( I do have quite a lot of reviews prepared but since I'm going out for dinner soon, I don't have enough time to write one up! So, instead, here are the giveaway winners of the A Prince from the Shadows giveaway which closed last night!

Winner of PDF copy of A Prince from the Shadows: Caroline!
Runner up who receives character art: Natalie Lee!


Congrats! I've already sent an email to the author with both of your email addresses so he can get in touch with you! Thanks so much to all of you that entered! If you didn't win, don't worry - there's another giveaway you can enter HERE (if you're from the UK or Ireland that is)! ;)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Review: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer
Edition: Puffin Paperback
Released: January 5th 2012
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Pages: 387

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl...

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


MY REVIEW:

Why, oh why, oh why, did I wait this long to read Cinder?! Really. I should have picked this up months ago when all the hype was going around! But, oh no, of course I didn't... but now that I have, I can only hope to persuade you to get this soon too!

I don't actually think I've read any fairytale re-tellings apart from this one. And if I have, well none of them have left the same impact on me as this one! I really enjoyed looking for the similarities to the original story. And I'm glad to report back that Meyer has managed to tie them in quite cleverly!

At the beginning I wasn't sure if I'd love Cinder but after a while, I did! She was strong and admirable and I could easily empathise with her and what she was going through. I just hated how horrible Adri and Penny were to her! She was so innocent and I just hated how she was treated! Another character I also loved was Kai. He was sweet and definitely swoon-worthy! I was rooting for Cinder and Kai right from the word go! But I have to say, my favourite character was neither of them. It was Iko. Sweet, adorable Iko. Oh, how I loved her! I really don't know why for sure... but she was just so adorable! ^.^

Unfortunetly I did have a couple of problems. Firstly, I could get a little confused at times with the wording. But mostly it was with the mechanical jargon that I didn't get. Let's just say I don't think I could be a mechanic. ;) I also managed to guess quite a lot of the twists in this book but I'm not that bothered about that. Even when I knew the twist was coming, it was still a little shocking when it was revealed.

So, overall, Cinder was a very unusual and enjoyable read which I can easily recommend to all dystopian fans! The characters are very likeable and relatable and you'll be sure to get along with them quickly enough (especially little Iko) and their story! Even though I could get a little confused with the wording, it was nothing major. I'm definitely counting down the days until book two is released - especially since this one ended on a cruel cliffhanger!

FOUR STARS! :D


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Sorry I've been a bit AWOL with comments lately... I've been on a Pretty Little Liars marathon - but I'm back now and wondering if any of you lovely folk know if Season 3 has yet to air in the UK? ;)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Showcase Sunday #11

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where we showcase all of our recent book grabs.


The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse {great!}
Blood Red Road by Moira Young {looks good!}
Fated by Alyson Noel {adored!}
Abandon by Meg Cabot {really good!}
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter {amazing!}
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow {didn't finish...}
Dark Parties by Sara Grant {great!}
The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson {brilliant!}
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce *not pictured
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly *not pictured

Sorry about the lack of goodreads links etc, I'm in a hurry! :3

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 10 August 2012

Guest Post by Author, Karen Ann Hopkins

Hey everyone! Today I've got a very interesting guest post on the Amish lifestyle by author, Karen Ann Hopkins. But before we get into it, here's a little more about her book, Temptation. :)

Your heart misleads you.

That's what my friends and family say.

But I love Noah.
And he loves me.


We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms.

It should be
ROSE & NOAH
forever, easy.

But it won't be.

Because he's Amish.

And I'm not.

* * *

The Amish Lifestyle

When I moved to Mays Lick, Kentucky four years ago, I had no idea that my life was about to drastically change. Like most other people, I’d seen Amish occasionally. I knew the basics, such as the culture’s choice of living electric and motor vehicle free. What I didn’t realize was that I would become immersed in the primitive culture. Within days of moving to our new farm, a steady-stream of Amish teens arrived to welcome me and my five children to the neighborhood. The Amish adults were friendly too, but the younger members of the community were the ones who really made us feel at home. The bond that tied us all together was the horses. I’d brought twenty-one of them with me from the riding lesson business I owned in Tennessee and the neighborhood kids were anxious to observe and eventually learn a more disciplined form of horse-back riding from the bare-back escapades they were used to.


It didn’t take long for me to notice the interesting dynamics going on between the Amish kids and the non-Amish ones who rode at the farm. Along with some obvious flirting, there were also late night visits from Amish teens who simply wanted to watch a movie on my TV or play video games with my kids.

Eventually, the community elders restricted the amount of time that the teens could spend at the farm. The adults were worried that their children were interacting too much time with Englishers (that’s what the Amish call anyone who isn’t Amish) and the group gatherings in the arena were against the already established rules. You see, the Amish youth don’t enjoy the freedom of assembly that we all take for granted. They are only allowed to gather for church services and organized Amish events.

Most Amish youth go through a state of rebellion where they question of whether they will remain Amish is decided. This self-discovery time is called rumspringa. Not all communities allow the young people to practice this tradition though, and my own community is of the stricter societies.


The Amish teens surrounding my farm have two choices. They can either follow their community’s rules, or sneak around. A fair amount of the kids choose the later and suffer the consequences when caught. The punishment for watching a movie, playing a video game, taking pictures, or using a cell phone can be severe, so the art of sneaking is a required skill for every Amish teen.

Time is a major factor that limits the trouble most of the teens get into. There is just too little of it. Upon graduation from school at the end of the eighth grade, a typical boy will go straight into the work force, either employed by a family business such as building, welding or farming or they’ll work for another family in the community. The girls might take an outside job, but many stay home to help care for their younger siblings and the household. The ones that do work outside the home, might take a job at the community butcher shop, bakery, or do babysitting or house-cleaning for their non-Amish neighbors. Most of the teens who earn an income will subsequently pay their parents approximately ninety percent of that income. The remainder of their earnings is spent of personal items or saved for their future married lives. The teens will continue to pay a large portion of their earnings to their parents until they turn twenty years old or when they themselves are ready to marry, which is usually between eighteen and twenty-one years of age.


Even though the teens work forty hour work weeks, they also have daily chores to do at their homes. These tasks include farm work, child care, cleaning and laundry. You’d think with that kind of schedule, they’d have no energy for fun, but they still do. Each week they participate in an organized youth activity, which is held at community member’s home. Singing hymns and eating a basic meal are normal for the gatherings. Following fellowship, volley ball nets are raised or a softball game begins. The youth are well supervised and there is little mingling between the girls and the boys at these gatherings, but the teens still look forward to the time to relax and have some fun.

In my own community, I’ve watched a group of teens go through the rebellious period, begin courting, get married and have babies, all in the course of four years. The seasons of life move quicker in the quiet country landscape of the Plain people than they do in the outside world. But for all the negatives that non-Amish people might perceive with the culture, the Amish themselves appear happy and content. And in the end, that’s all that matters.

Temptation Facebook Page | Author's Facebook Page

* * *

I don't know about you, but I think that's a really interesting post! A big shout out to Karen for writing it! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Again, PLEASE vote for Will in the YA Crush Tourney FINAL! :D

Feature and Follow #7

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Every week there are two featured blogs and a fun question to answer, so head on over to join in!

Qu: What would you do over if you were to start your blog again from scratch?

This will probably sound pretty cheesy, but I wouldn't want to do anything different really... I wouldn't even want to start my blog again! When I think of everything I've put into this blog - all the hard work! - I don't see how I could put that to waste. I'm really happy about where my blog is right now and can only hope it gets better and better!

What about you?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: If you follow, thanks a billion! If you leave your link I promise to stop by and return the favour! :D
PPS: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE vote for Will in the YA Crush Tourney FINAL! I'll love you forever if you do!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review: The Name of The Star

Author: Maureen Johnson
Edition: HarperCollins Paperback
Released: September 29th 2011
Series: Shades of London #1
Pages: 372

Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon UK/US

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target.

MY REVIEW:

What can I say? I ADORED this book and can not recommend it enough. Simple. This is one of those times where I wish I had the powers of persuasion - if I did, I assure you I would be making you read this book right now! I can't say much more than this is a one-off you really don't want to miss!

I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED this plot! I know a lot of people are skeptical about thrillers. And to those that are, I say; if you only ever read the one thriller, make it this one! I literally want to hug the author for coming up with this storyline! It was perfectly executed and I loved every minute of it. The mystery is just so thrilling and gripping! And I'm using the word thrilling as I really can't describe this book any other way. But I suppose I should warn you. It does get creepy, and I'd advise you not to read it late at night... I'm not one of those who get creeped out by a book easily (I am known to dabble in the horror genre ;D), but this one had me looking for shadows! However, please don't be put off by that! I need someone to read and then gush about it with me!

The main character, Rory Deveaux was a great heroine and narrator for the story. She was a brave and considerate character who I liked straight away. I also adored her room-mate, Jazza, too. When Boo (this book has some cool nicknames!) came along though, it sort-of pushed Jazza a little out of the picture. I was quite sad about that since some of my favourite scenes were when Rory and Jazza were together. Hopefully she'll be an important character in the next book!

If I were to pick this book apart looking for any sort-of criticism, I would have to go with the romance. It's not a big deal or anything... but it was sort-of strange. The romance didn't have quite enough substance for me to enjoy it as much as I could have. It didn't affect anything too badly though as I didn't actually mind the love interest. I just hope in The Madness Underneath we'll be able to explore a little deeper into that area.

Overall, The Name of The Star has scored high on my highly-recommend list. I adored the plot and the characters and can't wait to meet them all again in book two. And of course, I'm sure some of you probably guessed this was coming but I still need to say it anyway. Boarding school setting! Yes, yes, I know. I'm obsessed with boarding schools... but I just had to mention it! But seriously - go read this!

FOUR AND A HALF STARS! :D


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Feel free to check out some of the giveaways I've got going on over on the sidebar! :)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Author Interview with Sarah Mussi PLUS Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Today I've got an interview for you all with author, Sarah Mussi. I recently read and reviewed her book, Angel Dust and adored it - my review can be found here. After the interview there will also be a giveaway where one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of this book! But first, here's a little bit more about it...


Would you move heaven and earth for the one you love? ANGEL DUST is a powerful, gritty and utterly modern tragic love story with a twist. When Serafina, the brightest and most beloved of all God's angels, is sent to collect Marcus Montague - the original badman - and take him to Hell, she finds herself powerfully drawn to him and makes a decision that places her in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell. Can Serafina fall in love without falling from grace? Can Marcus's soul be saved? And just who is the mysterious and ever-so-helpful stranger Harry?

Did you always plan to write an angel story? If so, how come?
No, I didn’t always plan to write an angel story. I wanted to write a love story and Serafina just stepped out into my imagination one day when I was stuck in traffic in New Cross. I think it was the idea of crosses and crossings over that started it all going. So Serafina crossed into the city – and I asked myself why? What was an angel doing in New Cross? I thought: she might come to save someone – or she might come to help someone to make a very different kind of crossing. And so the idea of collecting Marcus’s soul started. And as I’d been intending to write a love story it seemed obvious that she should fall in love with him.

Are any of your own attributes in any of your characters?
Yes. I try to save things too. Not normally people though! I like saving worms and little fragile yucky things that have got themselves into the wrong place at the wrong time and are in danger. I guess Marcus was in danger and through a complex pattern of events had got himself into the wrong place at the wrong time too. Not that he is yucky - though!

If you were placed in your creation of Heaven, where would you go?
I think I’d like to go walking in the Sapphire Mountains in Montana USA. I love walking and I love high places where you are so near the sky and can look out over the plains. I bet the Elysian Plains would be heavenly!

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I think it would be to calm people down and fill them with happiness so they wouldn’t want to hurt others or carry on in life choices that hurt themselves. And if they were hurting because of circumstances then a huge dollop of happiness might help – even if only to get them through to the next step. I think Serafina tries to do that a bit – when she spreads the Light of the Lord or makes rainbows appear in the sky.

Do you have a favourite place to write, any necessities you need while writing?
Yes, I like to write in bed! And I need lots of cups of tea!

Finally, do you have any current projects going on that you could tell us a little about?
Yes! In March 2012 my next book is coming out. It’s not a love story but it is a story about trying to save people. It’s a survival against the odds story. It’s called SIEGE and I wrote it when I was in a prophetic mood – so it’s a what-would-happen-if... kind of premise. I can’t say much more than that – well not at the moment! *Sarah lays her finger across her lips in a I’ve-probably-said-too-much already way.*

Quick-Fire Questions:

Rain or Snow? Snow
Cats or Dogs? Cats
Keyboard or Pen? Keyboard
Blue or Pink? Pink
Early Bird or Night Owl? Early bird

Great answers, Sarah! I especially like the sound of your new book - I love what-would-happen-if... stories! They really get the imagination going! Anyway. Now on to the giveaway! One very lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Angel Dust! Please read the T&Cs first before you enter! :)

Terms and Conditions:
- You must live in the UK or ROI (Republic of Ireland) to enter.
- The publishers will be taking care of posting and neither they or myself can be blamed for any packages lost in the mail.
- The giveaway will close on the 22nd of August 2012.
- You must fill in the rafflecopter below to be in with a chance of winning. There are no mandatory entries but you will have a better chance of winning if you enter a few of the options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: This is my first Rafflecopter giveaway, so I'm hoping it works alright! If you find any problems, don't hesitate to contact me!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Update Post!

Hey all, I'm back! So you can quit missing me now! ;)

Anywho. I can't believe that I forgot to tell you where I was going! Well to put your minds at ease, I'll tell you exactly where I was: Albufeira, Portugal!


I even created a little collage just for you! Apart from the obscenely massive dinner portions and the fact that our apartment was right on the street where a lot of drunk people returning from 'The Night Strip' decided to start shouting and singing (and even at one point impersonating monkeys) at 4am in the morning, it was all-in-all an okay holiday! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about coming home though! When you live in the country, you're certainly not used to noise at night! On the plus side, I did love a certain little beach cafe, the swimming pool at the hotel, a quirky, adorable shop down 'The Night Strip' (I just LOVE quirky and adorable shops!) and the slushies that were on offer!

Now on to book talk! Since I was away on holiday during the time the Freak giveaways closed, I can now reveal that the lucky winners are...

For the two ebooks of Freak: Beth and Perla Marina.
For the five signed Freak bookmarks: Beth and Perla again (Random Number Generator must love you two!), Ana Maria C, Beverley @ A Reading Daydreamer and Lucy!

Congrats to all of you! I have already passed your contact details on to the author who will take care of everything, so just keep checking your emails to hear from her! And to those of you that didn't quite manage to win this time, don't fear! Another giveaway will be posted up tomorrow (or you could even enter the other giveaway going on right now)! And also, while we're on the focus of everything bookish, I'm going to have a great Showcase Sunday for you all this week! Eeek, I just LOVE the books I got! I even managed to read two over the week I was away, and both were great! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 3 August 2012

Blog Tour: A Prince From The Shadows Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Today I am part of a blog tour for A Prince From The Shadows by J. Curtis Mace. I have an excerpt and a giveaway to share with you all! Enjoy! :)


A reluctant prince determined to be a better man than his father, the king, has ever been, Jeodyn spent his last year alone in the wild studying the banned art of manipulating the Myst, an act of rebellion but more in remembrance of the old ways. Now, everything he learned and everything he’s ever known about himself will be tested, when he’s called to do what his father should but never will: defend their family.

Noirlok, Lord of the ShadowLands and Father of the Night’s rebellion, knows no man will stand between him and his revenge. He'll either have the love he defeated the heavens and waited an age of the world to reclaim, or he'll destroy the House responsible. Since overcoming a mortal death and taking charge of the dark legion known as Shadorym, he has vowed to see the Blood of Vallyn pay for taking that love, and his life, from him.

When Jeodyn's sister, Jynn, disappears, the fight to defend what they all have at stake begins.



EXCERPT: Chapter 13 - A Threat and A Promise

“We’ve seen him my Lord… the eldest son, outside of Dresdin to the north. He was alone, and…”
“And why have you not brought his head to show the job done?” A last stone corner hid Jynn from the conversation, as she ducked behind the wall and listened. The voice of the one they called “ShadowLord” did little to mask its irritation. She knew that voice unmistakably now; it was Lu’s voice, and his Shadorym sounded of absolute fear, for having failed their master.
“He fled from us, my Lord.” Jynn peeked around the corner to see the dark figures cowering on the ground. They didn’t lift their heads to speak. “He spied us before we saw him and was gone before we could act. We saw only a man running at first, and didn’t find the scent of him until he’d escaped into the city. But what we saw, my Lord, wasn’t the brave stalwart this man has been built up to be; he ran like a coward and hid from us. We searched the inns and taverns, but saw nothing of him.”
“So a mortal’s eyes saw you, a shadow in the dark, before you could even know you were being watched? Fools!” Jynn’s was still shocked to hear him, her lover, her LuMaeryn, speak that way. In such contrast to how he sounded with her, he seemed a completely different person.
She’d seen and heard glimpses before, and every passing day made her wonder if she’d been wrong about him altogether. But Jynn couldn’t deny the man he was when they were alone. She loved that man and would do what he asked of her. She’d learn to accept the darker side of his business and might even come to do it without any questions. For now, she just watched and she listened.
“Yes, my Lord.” The Shadorym buried their faces into the stone floor.
Jynn didn’t see the sword, as it was brandished, and the dark blade made no sound, until the ShadowLord thrust it into the ground, piercing one of the three Shadorym at his feet. The lone shadow died in screaming agony. After a long, terrible moment of echoing death, the cavern fell silent again, but only for a moment. “I will not be failed again” said the ShadowLord. “…will I?” Jynn watched, horrified.
“No, my Lord,” spoke the next in command. “We’ll not fail you again. More have been sent to watch all roads from the north, and others have gone into the cities to search for him.”
“Good,” LuMaeryn said. “It is well to know that he is alone, but do not underestimate the boy’s foolish bravery, or his western blood; he will come, and there will be a fight when he does.” Jynn could no longer deny her suspicions about who they spoke of; it had to be Jeodyn. “He’ll bring a war upon us, if we allow it. Double your watch,” Lu said to them. “Send more into the north. Watch the road, day and night. Find him. Do you understand me? Find him, and kill him… and any who ride at his side.”
Jynn could listen no more. Her every apprehension died in fiery anger, and she rounded the corner in a rage. “Really? So that’s your plan, huh?” Her voice resounded sharply in the dark silence. Its echo sounded more wounded than angry, and her heart stung with betrayal. But she turned the hurt into heat and let it flow from her.
“I left my entire world to come here and be with you. Left all that I know… abandoned my family, just so I could love you freely, and this is how you repay my sacrifice? ...by taking the one part left of me in this world that’s still good, my family? Why? Why would you do that?” Her eyes burned with tears, but Jynn proved herself the stronger and she didn’t cry.
“Jynn, my love…” LuMaeryn’s soft tone didn’t sway her. His dark figure moved nearer to where she stood and reached to take her hand.
“No!” Jynn recoiled with a hiss. “I don’t believe you!” She sneered at him in the dark. “I’ve broken the hearts of people I love with what I’ve done… betrayed even my own to be here, and now you’d compound that hurt by killing my brother, if he came here to find me?” She shook her head almost involuntarily. “How can you say you love me and then speak something so terrible? How?”
Jynn put her head in her hands. For a moment, she thought she might finally give in to the tears still stinging her eyes. She scrubbed a hand through the darkening shadow of her hair then found LuMaeryn again. “Was everything you said to me a lie?” He gave no immediate answer. “Was it all a lie!” The heat of her question echoed throughout the cavern, as Jynn waited for a response.
LuMaeryn said nothing right away. He looked to be choosing his words with care. “It was not a lie,” he said, after a moment. He moved closer again to where she stood. Jynn started her rant again, before he could say anything more.
“If not a lie then... what would you call it?” Contempt and sarcasm burned her words, matching the fire scorching her heart. “You profess to love me… then you order the death of my family… the people I love? How?” Jynn shook her head again. “I just don’t know how you could…”
“I’m sorry, my love.” LuMaeryn spoke softly, no doubt hoping the voice of honest innocence would cool her anger and turn her heart; Jynn knew the trick and hated it. “I did not know you cared so deeply for him. I thought your brother the terrible person you made him out to be… that his death would be a burden lifted from you, as you had said before. I thought it a price easily paid to see us together.” His words were gentle, but Jynn didn’t let them affect her. She answered him quickly, her voice still burning and sharp.
“Then you don’t know me at all,” she shouted. “I’ve never said any such thing to you, and you’d be a liar or a dullwit to hear those words from my lips. Now which is it, Lu? Are you a liar or a fool?”
“I am neither,” he said, after a long moment of silence. “And you would…”
“You’re a liar!” Jynn was much nearer to tears now, but she found the resolve to compose herself again and continue one last time. “I’d never want my brother dead, and you know that. You could never have heard such a dark desire in anything I’ve ever said to you. ” All composure failed her then, and she looked away.
When Jynn turned back, she knew the anger had faded from her face. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “I never wanted him dead,” she said with a great effort. “…only sorry for not loving me more, when I was around. I wanted his heart to hurt for missing me... that’s all.” Then Jynn’s emotions defeated her completely. She cried openly in the dark and didn’t pull away when LuMaeryn put his arms around her.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “The order is rescinded. Don’t worry at all, my love. Your brother will not be harmed… I will see to it.” LuMaeryn stroked the darkness of Jynn’s hair away from her face. He spoke softly and tempered his words. “Now, I must send out patrols to watch for others who may be coming besides him, but no harm will come to your brother, I promise.” He held her close.
“You… and you,” Lu called to the two Shadorym still kneeling on the ground. “You have heard my order, now go and see that it is done. Make sure he is found and watched only. If he finds his way here, see that he is turned away… but he is not to be hurt.”
Jynn’s tears subsided. She remembered their promise, that all they needed to realize their every happiness was each other; she could even remember believing it. “You have my order,” Lu said again, and though Jynn couldn’t say which order he meant for them to follow, his arm around her now gave comfort and with it the want to trust him. She believed him, because she had to. “...see that it is done.” Lu said again, and the Shadorym left to fulfill their charge, bowing as they went.

After a moment, Jynn stopped crying altogether, and taking her head from LuMaery’s chest, she found his eyes in the dark. “I don’t trust you,” she said. “I know you’d betray me, if given the chance… you would to get what you want. I know it, but you wouldn’t betray your own heart so easily. You’d never make yourself the reason I left, the reason you couldn’t be with me anymore.” Jynn wiped away her tears and ran a hand again over her hair, slowly accepting the place she’d chosen in this new world, again. With a steady voice, she spoke her resignation to it. “I’ll stay with you,” she said. “That’s a promise I’ve already made… it’s one I’ll stand by. Besides, there’s no home for me there anymore… even if I did want to go back.”
Jynn’s last words stirred that deep sadness again, but her current anger easily kept it at bay. She stepped back from Lu and took his arms from around her. “But mark my words,” she said, finding his eyes again. “If anything ill should come of my brother, I’ll know it was you who ordered him to it, and I’ll hold you solely responsible.” She ran a hand over the sleek, black muscle of his chest. Her eyes held his still and the seriousness of what she said smoldered in every word. “And it’ll be you who I punish. I’ve told you before: have me as I say, or don’t have me at all.”
LuMaeryn looked ready to question her declaration, but Jynn didn’t give him the chance, as she pulled him down to her into a deep and deliberate kiss. Her tongue toyed with his for a long moment before she pulled away. “If he dies, my lover,” she paused and kissed him again. “…then so do I. My heart’s bound to his, in more ways than either he or I would ever admit, but you’re the one now who should know it better than any. What I say is true… if you kill my brother, you kill me with him.” And with a last soft kiss to his dark lips, Jynn turned away. She left by the same passage that brought her, knowing he’d watch her go.
“A promise made is a promise kept,” he said.
Jynn didn’t respond.

Right now, all she wanted was to be as far away from him as she could be. She passed quickly through the halls of her dark palace and couldn’t run fast enough. Finally, Jynn reached her private rooms, and she threw herself into the deep shadow surrounding her bed.
Her eyes were seeing the darkness better and better, as he’d said they would. Now though, she could see nothing through her tears but gloom and sadness. She could only wonder if he was watching. He always seemed to be there, hiding some place she couldn’t see. When Jynn first arrived, it had been a good thing; him watching made her feel safe and wanted. Now she wanted only to be alone, but could sense him nearby. Not caring whether he was or not, Jynn let her emotions go, and she burst into tears.
Unable to trust Lu to keep his word and with no way to ever know whether he had or not, Jynn struggled to keep her desperation at bay. This was what she wanted. She loved him, and she’d forsaken her family to be here with him. But now she had more to fear than just her own hurt. When manufacturing her anger to render the road from home less painful, it had been easy to hate Jeodyn, even easy to think of life without him. But now, knowing that he’d come to find her, it broke Jynn’s heart to think of any hurt coming to him, especially a hurt she’d had a hand in causing.
Jeodyn had come for her, when even their father wouldn’t. This was a joy and a pain to realize. But Jynn knew she couldn’t blame Thayne or her mother, or anyone; the fault was hers alone, but Jeodyn had come. That fact cast doubt on every ill feeling she would’ve sworn he harbored against her. She hid the shadow of her face and cried harder into her dark hands. All she could feel was sadness and pain, doubt and worry; an odd price to pay to be happy. She cried harder still to think it.
After a long and desperate time, Jynn’s tears found their end, and the soft sounds of her weeping subsided. Her trembling shadow grew still, and hoping to distance herself from the current sadness, she focused on the happiness she’d come here to find. The gentle flutter in her stomach helped, and the commitment made there rededicated Jynn to the road she’d chosen to take.
She had to believe him. Lu gave her his word, and she’d have to accept it, until she saw the vow broken. Anything less than her full faith in his promise would make her crazy worrying over it, and more would suffer for that now than just her. Jynn couldn’t allow that. Determination found her again. It was Lu’s turn now to do his part in making all this worth the sacrifice.
Her lover, the Lord of these endless shadows, would keep his promise, or Jynn would surrender to the release of keeping her own, no matter the cost. She’d wanted this dark fantasy; now she had to live it.
He truly loved her, and he’d come for her in an instant when she called on him. That was the quickest path Jynn could find to a smile and she conceded now to taking it. Composing the shadowy countenance of her face, she called out to the darkness. “Lu?” she whispered into the gloom, knowing he’d hear. And when the soft shadow of a hand touched her face, she leaned into it with a kiss. “Tell me you love me,” she said. “Just tell me you love me.”
“I have loved you longer than you have had a heart to know it,” LuMaeryn said. “You are my life, and I will love you long after we have both been stricken from this world.” He held her close, like she wanted, and the two shadows fell together in their dark embrace. Jynn lost herself in his shadowy kisses.


GIVEAWAY!

Now on to the giveaway! There will be one winner and one runner-up. The winner will receive a PDF copy of this book and the runner-up will get the digital character art. Sound good right? Now to give you a taster of the character art, here is the promo picture!


Anyway... Terms & Conditions! This giveaway is international, ends August 16th 2012 6pm GMT and you're only allowed one entry (any additional entries will be deleted). And I think that's about it. Good luck! :D