Monday, 24 November 2014

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Series: Schrodinger's Consortium, Book One
Publisher: Entangled
Format: Kindle
Published25th November 2014
Number of Pages: 400
Book: For Review*
Genre: Science-Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Site: Tonya Kuper

Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it… 
Worst. Birthday. Ever. 

My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils.  Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died.  Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah.  But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by 
thinking about it.

When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes.  Like, 
everything.  Who I am.  My family.  What really happened to my brother.  Existence.  I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts.  Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality.  And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Josie's seventeenth birthday sucks – latest in a line of suckiness.  Her dad's vanished.  Her boyfriend broke up with her.  An awesome interning job fell through.  Her mom's being super protective.  And she's now the age her brother was when he died.  All in all, a great day.  Not.
But also... things keep happening.  Things that don't make sense...
And then a total hottie rolls up to school on a motor bike, sporting a tattoo just like Josie's brother had...
The hottie is called Reid.  He's come to drop a huge bomb.
Josie has powers.  She's in danger.  Bad guys are gunning for her.  Her life has been a lie.  Oh, and he's got to train her quickly – as in, before it's too late and war starts.
No pressure there.  I mean, where are the Avengers when you need them...?
I saw Anomaly on NetGalley and instantly thought: gots to have it!  From the moment I began reading, I fell totally and utterly in love.  This book...  Holy Thor!  It was freaking amazing.  I was just instantly hooked!  Anomaly was hilarious, exciting, action-packed and full of brilliant nerdy references.  Many of its elements weren't stunningly original (nerdy lead girl, former crush, snarkiness, hotness, sci-fi stuff), but when put all together, along with a whole load of awesome, the result meant Anomaly was just stunning.  It was so much fun and I loved every single second of it.  I seriously cannot recommend Anomaly enough!
Now, when dealing with awesomeness, start with the awesome characters.  And Josie was awesome.  She was nerdy, funny, clever and, if you haven't gathered by this point, awesome.  Her Star Trek, Star Wars, Big Bang Theory and Marvel comics references killed me every time.   I also loved her "I was just wired to be weird" – the girl had some brilliant snark!  Her reaction to what she really was felt so utterly believable and realistic – I mean, who deals with 'you're not quite human' and 'your life's a lie' with a happy grin?  She was brilliant and so was her development!
Reid was amazing too – and totally crushworthy!  He, too, was snarky and funny – but he was serious and motivated too.  And badass – do not forget the badassness of Reid!  He was just amazing.
Oh, and Rosie (Jeid?) was perfect too!  They were so cute, so hot and so brilliant.  I loved seeing the two of them together and just loved them!
I loved Josie's best friend Hannah as well – she was the perfect counterpoint to Oculi craziness and was really sweet and funny.  And Santos killed me too!  Oh, and I loved that Josie's mom had to use a cane, but that she hated any help.  She didn't want to be treated like she was incapable, like all disabled people (well, unless the hill is really steep...)  Go Mrs H!  Well, not really.  Mrs H was also rather cold and rational.  I was very torn about Mom…
But the writing was perfect.  Split between Reid and Josie, the action was non-stop and also funny as hell!   I loved getting both sides of the story – loved Josie's nerdiness and Reid's badassness.  Together, it was like the perfect little mix for my bookish loves!  I mean, all those geeky/dorky references... it was like dying and ending up on the Enterprise (not really, since I'm not really into Star Trek, but the dorkiness of the statement seemed fitting).  Seriously, all I needed was the mention of D&D or Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizards, Spock and I literally would've been on geekdom cloud nine!
And damn this plot was good!  I mean, oh my Star Lord!  It was fast-paced, exciting, unpredictable, and awesome.  I read this book in one sitting – that good!  I was just so hooked and so desperate to know what would happen next!  I may have seen a few plot twists coming, but there were so very many twists and turns that I was always, always hooked and on the edge of my seat.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series!  I need it so badly!
As for this world...  Oh.  My.  Thor!  It was so cool!  The whole sci-fi edge to the paranormal aspects just blew me away.  Everything felt so real – I mean, there was all kinds of science-talk, as well as mentions of scientists – all of which made these unbelievable acts of projection seem, well, believable.  And man do I want to be Oculi!
Oh, how I hearted Anomaly!  It was the perfect book to just sit and read (preferably in a single sitting) and then gush about afterwards.  I’m recommending it to all sci-fi, paranormal and Marvel lovers out there – this is not one to miss!  It’s just the most amazing, nerd-a-licious, exciting, thrilling, fun book to read and I shall be desperately waiting for my second hit of the Schrodinger’s Consortium series! 

Star Rating:
Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
Fated by Sarah Alderson
The Medusa Project or Blood Ties by Sarah McKenzie

Happy Reading
* This book was received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

** Quotes used are from a proof copy and may have been changed in the finished book

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda

Series: Devil's Kiss, Book Two
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Published1st July 2010
Number of Pages: 384
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Action Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Swearing, Loads of Violence... and Death... and Suspense... and Werewolves... Some Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog:

Billi SanGreal is a Knight Templar and has thrown herself utterly into their brutal regime, shutting herself off from everyone and everything.
But when Billi finds herself at the heart of a savage werewolf attack, she knows their target – a young girl – must be rescued at all costs.
For this is no ordinary girl.  Vasilisa is an avatar with an uncontrollable force within – and it’s not just the werewolves who want her.  The Dark Goddess wants to sacrifice Vasilisa and use her powers to unleash unimaginable catastrophes and devastation.
Can Billi protect Vasilisa from the ancient goddess – and at the same time stop her from destroying the world?

When a book starts with a dead body, you know you're in for a freaking awesome and terrifying adrenaline ride.  I should've expected it anyway.  Those who have read Devil's Kiss will get how good Chadda is at writing horror, deaths, sadness, betrayal, and badass teenager Templar Knights.  Sarwat, you are officially one of my favourite people ever…
The one person Billi SanGreal cared about most is gone.  Her way of coping?  To throw herself into her duties as a member of the Knight Templar.  Fighting the Unholy, saving lives and getting all battered up is a pretty usual night for her.
And then everything goes south.  Because Billi gets caught up in a werewolf attack.  Something unlike anything she's seen before.  
The target?  A little girl named Vasilisa. 
The motive?  Who knows!  
Ok ok, I know.  So does Billi.  And the Knights Templar.  
The girl is... special.  Really special.  Special enough for a secret Unholy organisation with a deadly mission to spring up, intent on stealing her.  
Can Billi keep the girl safe, even when she's totally out of her depth and in a country she doesn't even know?  When she's up against enemies stronger than anything she's ever faced before?
When she's forced to ask a question that could either save or destroy the world...?
And when she starts to fall in love again?
This is Billi Sangreal and she is here to save the world.  Hopefully...
Sarwat Chadda, I officially love you.  Not only have you managed to bring Billi SanGreal back with a bang, but you've brought her back in a story that is somehow even better than Devil's Kiss, in a story that is fast-paced, action-packed, emotional, and at times slightly terrifying.  And how I love every single minute!  
Billi: oh, I love you too!  She's just so funny, so tough, so reluctantly caring, so stubborn and so totally kickass!  I also really love that she just feels so real.  She's flawed but in a totally believable way.  She's tough but also relatable.  She's mature but in a way that's completely truthful to her personality and lifestyle.  She's just the perfect heroine.    And I am just... I don't want to let her go.  I want more of her.  So please, please, please people at Penguin.  Publish the third Billi book!  I will buy a million copies if you'll just PUBLISH it so I can just READ it!!  And damn you, Sarwat, for giving me those first few chapters!  Now I’m even more desperate!
I'm sounding slightly crazy right now so I'll move onto Ivan.  Now, Ivan...  I may have started thinking you were a stuck up Tsarevich, but I love you now and see you for the broken, beautiful, caring, noble guy you are!  I didn't think I'd be able to love someone as much as Kay, but I loved Ivan just as much!  Maybe... maybe even more...  
The rest of the cast was brilliant – and all very varied.  And I'm pleased to say that Sarwat didn't let me down and killed off loads of them!  That sounds really twisted but c'mon!  They're freaking Templar Knights!  I'm sorry, but some of 'em are gonna die.  It's just the way life works, people.  You know, in books about demon hunters anyway...  But still, Sarwat!  Did you have to scare the hell out of me so many times?  I'm not sure how many more of these close shaves and horrible, terrifying fears my nerves and heart can take! 
Right now, in so, so many YA books, it's all about the romance.  Sure, there's like demons or ghosts or whatever, but much of the plot is about the romance.  Dark Goddess is such a refreshing change to that trend!  It's all about the world, the suspense, the horror, the action, the evil and the people.  The romance?  Just the sprinkling on the cake that is this killer of a book.  It doesn't overwhelm the hard, violent story but also adds a nice break – a sweet dash of sugar in this action-packed thriller.  And I loved that.  I really loved it.  And it means that this book, this wonderful wonderful book, is perfect for boys and girls.
I also loved the history of the Bogatyrs: like the Templars, only Russian and led by long-lost descendants of Tsar Nikolas.  Russian history is one of my favourites.  I love Tsarist Russia and absolutely adored all the elements of it in Dark Goddess.  Especially the one where there's a secret organisation led by a secret Romanov.  That's awesome.  And of Baba Yaga.  She is freaking terrifying...  But also just the tour of Russia as it is today.  Ever since Markus Sedgewick's Blood Red, Snow White and Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy, I've wanted to visit Moscow and St Petersburg.  And after reading Dark Goddess I want to go even more!  It all just felt so real – like I was actually there!
One of my favourite things about Sarwat's books is that nothing is sugar coated.  People die.  Like, a lot of people.  There are sacrifices, there are losses and it's not all happily-ever-afters either.  It just completely sets him and his books aside.  Well, that and the plot.  Have I mentioned the plot?  Not really?  Well, it was kickass.  Like seriously.  I never saw the twists coming, I never guessed what would happen next, I never knew who was – and who wasn't – going to die, I never even knew how the book would end – as in, with a fave character's death, more heartache, happy-ever-after or with no world left...  Yup.  That bad.  That good.  Man, I want another book...
Towards the end of the book, I found it really hard to read.  Not because it was a let-down or anticlimactic or anything.  Oh no.  Completely the opposite.  It was just so good I didn't want it to end!  Ever.  Which, if you ask me, is the sign of an amazing book.  And Dark Goddess really truly was an amazing book.  Even better than Devil's Kiss, something I didn't even think Sarwat would be able to manage.  I adored every single moment of this book and just could not put it down, even when I really didn't want it to end...  It didn't make sense to me, either.  But seriously.  If you haven't checked this series out, you absolutely have to.  I don't care if you're thirteen or one hundred, a boy or a girl: you will love this book and you will see it for the unique brilliance that it is.  Trust me.
Dark Goddess started with a dead body and ended with dead bodies – and one hell of a bang.  Now it's time for me to pray, hope and beg for the release of a Billi SanGreal Book Three.  Would it help if I put in a gif of someone begging?  No?  Oh well.  You're getting one anyways, people at Penguin.  This is how serious and desperate I am.  
Because when a series is this good, it should be illegal to stop it.  A death penalty offence.  Which is saying something, since I like in the UK where there is no death sentence, and when I'm against it anyway.  But now do you get how desperate I am?!  I need more Billi, more Ivan, more Templars and more of everything this book is about.  As soon as possible.  Please...

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Demon Trappers by Jana Oliver
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading


Monday, 3 November 2014

Mortal Coil by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book Five
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardback
Published: 2nd September 2010
Number of Pages: 604
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 10+
Contains: Violence, Death – Lots And Lots Of Violence And Death! – Gore And Mild Swearing
No Alcohol or Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


“The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie.
‘We know,’ she said.  ‘We’ve seen the future.  We know you’re going to kill the world…’”
Skulduggery Pleasant is back, but all is not well in the magical community.  For one thing, there’s an unstoppable assassin with a metal mask on the loose… and for another, Valkyrie has discovered that she is Darquesse, the evil sorceress set to destroy the world.  The problem is, she doesn’t feel she can tell Skulduggery what she’s learned, and so she must try to change her terrible destiny alone.
But the price of changing your destiny is high, and if she fails, she’ll die alone too.
With Valkyrie on her own quest, Skulduggery and the gang are even more vulnerable.  Which is a shame, as the Necromancers have a body-snatching Remnant that they’re about to release…
When no one is who they seem, when she can’t trust her friends and her enemies are closing in from all around her, the only thing Valkyrie can do is run.

"When you're dealing with magic, you can never trust your enemies to stay beaten, or to stay dead…"
So I'm going to try to give the spoiler free version of this plot...
Alright, so Valkyrie Cain just found something out – something huge, so huge she doesn't know what to do. 
So huge and so horrible that she can't even tell her friends...
Something... life shattering...
Meanwhile, the Irish Sanctuary is reeling from... well, the bomb that killed most of them.  It needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up – preferably safely and securely.
Yeah, right.
And on top of all of this, some mysterious people are plotting to take Skulduggery, Valkyrie and the Sanctuary down.  You know.  Again.
Oh, and the Remnants – evil soulless things that killed thousands last time they were free – are walking among the living once again.  And this time, they have a purpose – which is “bloody terrifying”, to quote Tanith Low…
All in all, it really isn't going too well.
But then, when does anything ever go right for this group?
Once again, I'm going to state how much I love the Skulduggery Pleasant series.  And each book is even better than the last.  Take Mortal Coil, for example.  It still had all the action, all the humour, all the fun, all the magic – but it was darker too, more... grown up.  More YA than children's – but still appealing to a pre-teen audience, as well as an older one.  What can I say: the magic that is SP appeals to everyone, everywhere.  It's just so freaking good that it's untrue!  So good, in fact, that I finished this 570-odd paged book in an afternoon – on the edge of my seat and laughing my head off the whole time, of course.  For that is the magic of Skulduggery Pleasant: more addictive than drugs and funnier than Live At The Apollo crossed with hilarious animal videos.  
Valkyrie...  I really felt for the girl in this one.  Poor Val.  Still, she's so strong, even when dealing with all these really tough things.  And funny all the way through, of course!
As for Skulduggery: I love him so much.  I don't care about all the kinds, all his dangerous and borderline-sociopathic tendencies – he's so funny, so good, such a good friend to Val...  I really hope he stays this way…
Tanith: she rocks.  Like totally.  Ghastly is amazing too.  China, whilst being quite cold at times, is awesome.  But Fletcher Renn really stole the show for me.  He kills me – he’s so funny, but if his ego was any bigger, planets would revolve around him.  Seriously.  Also, I've gotta say, I kind of liked Billy-Ray in this one.  He was good... ish and so freaking funny.  And Clarabelle, Grouse's assistant, absolutely killed me – she always does!  She's so ditzy!  It's brilliant and so, so funny!  Val's dad is brilliant too – he, too, is freaking hilarious!  Um, have you gathered that I adore the characters in this book, flaws and all?  You have?  Awesome: moving on.
Once again, Landy's writing is stunning.  Like I've said multiple times, his writing is pure magic.  The dialogue is hilarious and so witty: Landy really knows how to ramp up the suspense and make you laugh all at the same time.  His fight scenes are beyond compare: so vivid and bloody that you can see it all in your mind...
And as for the plot of Mortal Coil: holy hell, Batman!  This plot was nonstop thrills, spills and violence!  Seriously, there were so many freaking twists it was untrue.  I never knew where I would go next.  I also didn't know who would survive til the next chapter: Derek really has a passion for killing off his characters...  Seriously, though, Mortal Coil was dark and exciting and suspenseful and I loved every single moment of this twisting rollercoaster.
I can't believe it took me this long to point it out, but I'm really pleased that Skulduggery Pleasant isn't set in America or even the UK – there are sooo many paranormals set in the USA so one set in Ireland is a really nice change.  The notion of Ireland being "a cradle of magic" is cool too – much, I guess, like the theory behind Sunnydale in Buffy or the house and nexus in Charmed; natural sources of magic and supernatural activity.  This is really turning into a nerdsfest, which wasn't my original point at all (I think) so I'll move on now...
Anyway, what I'm trying to say in this long and rambly fangirly review (well, might as well continue the trend: I have a whole series of fangirly SP reviews – why stop now?!) is that Mortal Coil is the best book in a brilliant series.  I could be stuck on a desert island with any of the SP books and I'd be happy for eternity because they just never get old.  SP is the perfect escape and I will love it forever and ever.  I will also never stop recommending it to everyone, no matter their age, gender, etc – not even when I'm old and grey and meant to pretend I like 'intellectual' books, like War and Peace
So yes.  Mortal Coil is amazing.  And you all need to read SP.  Right now.  I mean it: I can't recommend it enough.
Derek, I love you and you are my god.  I worship you the way the Remnants worship Darquesse.  Maybe that's wrong, but I don't care. 
And on that (mildly disturbing) note: Megan out.

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Department 19 by Will Hill
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Happy Reading


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dark Days by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book Four
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardback
Published: 1st  April 2010
Number of Pages: 320
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Death – Lots And Lots Of Violence And Death! – And Mild Swearing
No Alcohol or Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant



“Valkyrie turned to the portal.  The wind whipped her hair, and she could feel the gravitational pull, eager to welcome her.  She ran, straight into the yellow…”
Skulduggery Pleasant is gone, sucked into a parallel dimension overrun by the Faceless Ones.  If his bones haven’t already been turned to dust, chances are he’s insane, driven out of his mind by the horror of the ancient gods.  There is no official rescue mission.  There is no official plan to save him.
But Valkyrie’s never had much time for plans.
The problem is, even if she can get Skulduggery back, there might not be much left for him to return to.  There’s a gang of villains bent on destroying the Sanctuary, there are some very powerful people who want Valkyrie dead, and as if all that wasn’t enough it looks very likely that a sorcerer named Darquesse is going to kill the world and everyone on it.
Skulduggery is gone.  All hopes rest with Valkyrie.  The world’s weight is on her shoulders, and its fate is in her hands.

These are dark days indeed.

"Valkyrie, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your friend is most likely dead."
"Of course he's dead.  He's a skeleton."
Skulduggery Pleasant is gone, missing, taken, held hostage by the homicidal gods known as The Faceless Ones.
Valkyrie Cain will go to any length to get him back – including risking her own life.
But meanwhile criminals that Skulduggery and Valkyrie put away are gathering.  Their plan?  To destroy the Sanctuary – and Valkyrie Cain.
Things are looking grim.
Grimmer: the mysterious and dangerously powerful Darquesse, whose only goal is to destroy the world...  And on top of this, they can trust no one at the Sanctuary.
Yup, things are looking pretty damn dark...
If only they had Skulduggery to help them...  Cue foolish planning, now...
God, I adore this series!  I've seriously forgotten how much I love it.  Even on my second or third reading, it's just so damn good!  Dark Days was action-packed, hilarious and just as magical as all Skulduggery Pleasant novels.  I literally can never get enough of Skulduggery and co, and Dark Days really didn’t disappoint me – in fact, it was better than the three that came before it, which I thought impossible.  How Derek Landy always manages to completely outdo himself with each new book is beyond me, but he does, and it's awesome.  Also, totally addictive.  I can't wait to continue my reread in the big run-up to the final book!  But God knows I'm going to be a snivelling mess by the time it's done!
Ok, Valkyrie is getting to be soo awesome!  She's growing up a lot, you can just see the difference, like her getting crushes.   I was really impressed by how natural and subtle Derek made her growth feel – Val really does seem so much like a real person, albeit one with magic, razor-sharp wit and more strength than a million elephants.  And even though I know where she's going, I can't wait to see it!
Skulduggery: I love him so much.  I really wish people would stop saying mean things about him (in the book) 'cause I adore him.  He's funny, bonkers, snarky and smart and is my favourite ever detective – and this includes Sherlock from the BBC TV show, so that's sayin' something!  
I loved Fletcher too – he was so cute and obsessed with his hair!  However, I always see Jedward whenever I think of him...  Don't ask...  Tanith was, as always, brilliant (I do so love the kickass girls in this series) – as was Ghastly (brilliant, I mean, not a kickass girl).  I also really like China, even if she is a bit... creepy...  Oh, and Finbar is amazing – that guy kills me each and every time!
The villains in Dark Days were epic.  You had the Revengers Club (or Vengeance Brigade, depending on who you ask), who were made up of familiar and new faces, and then there was the mysterious Darquesse...  My favourite (though I probably shouldn’t have a fave villain) was Billy-Ray, purely because he cracks me up.  But all the villains were pretty awesome.
And damn, I love the writing in these books – the dialogue in particular!  The characters never lack a snarky thing to say, some witty and brilliant comeback.  I love that.  I also love how amazing Derek's writing is: reading his books is like watching a film inside my head, which is awesome.  These books are just the perfect escape for reluctant readers, in my opinion!
As for that plot... all the twists, the turns, the action, the murder, the excitement...  It's enough to hook a girl for eternity.  And as for the ending: cliff-hanger alert!  I mean, I saw it coming this time, but the first time I ever read Dark Days: serious jaw-drop moment. 
And I really quickly have to mention the world in these books, because it is awesome – seriously, awesome!  Magic, monsters, mayhem, awesomeness…  I want to move to this world and become a sorcerer so badly!
I also want to say how much I appreciate Derek writing to please everyone.  There's magic, science, adventure, suspense, humour and friendship in this book, appealing to a wide audience.  I also love how it's not aimed at boys or girls.  I mean, Val's a girl but Skulduggery plays just as big a part.  Boys and girls alike love this series – and some not-so-boys-or-girls too – and they're all so very right to.  Skulduggery Pleasant is one hell of a series and everyone, everywhere ought to pick it up.  Right now.  I'll be waiting.
Oh, but before you go I want to and this: Dark Days was dark in the most delicious way.  It left me wanting more, as always, and I seriously can't recommend it - all of the bokos actually - enough.  
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go read Mortal Coil and those of you who haven't read Skulduggery Pleasant need to go read that ASAP. 

Happy reading!

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5 

Read this book if you liked:
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Department 19 by Will Hill
The Spooks' Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Happy Reading