Review: Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl’s unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

As with a few of the books I’ve read recently, I was really looking forward to this book. I wasn’t very happy about the price of the kindle version though. £9.36 +_+ almost double the usual price, and a few pounds more than the physical copy. (Edit: the average price of ebooks has now gone up since I wrote this review, a lot of them are now £7+)

Although the price seemed extreme most of the reviews on Goodreads were really good, and even though I was still on my zombiefest I was looking forward to reading it. It was slow to get going, with lots of exposition and I found myself skim reading. Once it hit the halfway mark the info dumps petered out, and the story got going.

Alice is surviving on her own as the story opens. I liked Alice’s independence, the fact that at 16 years old and she survived on her own for over a year, this is thanks mainly to a survival book she had the savvy to pick up along the way. I liked Aiden but I felt that, as with Del and Sammy, he could have had a little more depth. All the face and hair touching was sweet but there needed to be more to him than the fact he liked Alice.

The book felt like a start of a series, and it would be a good book to start one, and although it does stand up on its own as well it definitely felt like it could have been the beginning of something. I really hope there is a second book because I wasn’t satisfied with the epilogue of Ashes, Ashes.

Over all not a bed read at all

Rating: 4/6 – I Liked It

Monthly Round Up: October 2011

89. Spider’s Revenge, Jennifer Estep
90. Nightfall, Ellen Connor
91. The Diviner’s Tale, Bradford Morrow
92. Silence, Becca Fitzpatrick
93. A Touch of Crimson, Sylvia Day
94. Fallen, kristina Douglas
95. Demon, kristina Douglous

So it seems October has been a better month for reading than September was but let’s face it, that wouldn’t take much. I’m still on my TV buzz but not as much as last month. I’m feel quite stressed with a situation I’ve got going on but I really need to focus on reading if I have any chance of successfully completing my 150 book goal this year. I’ve kinda done better than I thought I would if I’m honest. I knew when I set my goal that around half way through I’d begin to flag, and I wasn’t wrong. What surprised me though was that I still kept going. My posting of my review took a hit, and I’ve still have loads I need to write up and get posted but I’ve done okay. I was hoping to use December to finish all the books I abandoned throughout the year but I’m thinking that may not be the best idea at the moment as it might stop me reading altogether.

Anyway…

Best read of October? Well Silence really surprised me. I thought I’d hate it, but even though I really struggled with Crescendo, I actually liked it. It was a really enjoyable read, but it wasn’t my fave. Biggest disappointment was Nightfall. I can’t tell you how bad that let me down. I just expected so much more than it turned out to be. Maybe it was I expected more from Ann Aguirre as I really enjoyed her Corrine Soloman series.

My favourite has to be good ole faithful Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep, followed by either Fallen or Demon but I think Demon has the edge on Fallen.

So on to November. I’m hoping my Situation evens out to enable me to get back into the swing of things ready for the last push. The way it is I doubt it. I’m fighting an ox.

Monthly Round Up: September 2011

September has to have been one of my worst months for reading since I was 19. I thought August was bad. Well September has left August in the dust. Five. A total of five books read, and one was a short story. I have no excuse except that I’m still trying to dig my way out of my reading slump. TV is the devil 🙂

I have actually watched way too much TV this month. -‘m eating it up like devil cake. I’m currently enjoying;
Alphas
The Revenge
Son’s of Anarchy
Terra Nova
Jersey Shore
The Secret Circle
Downton Abbey
Warehouse 13
Hart of Dixie
Haven
Awkward (although this has just finished)

And that’s not including shows I’m downloading but have yet to start.

Anyway. Reading. I really enjoyed Outside In, Archangel”s Blade, and Touch or Frost. Archangel’s Blade being my fave of the month. I was only a little disappointed with One Grave at a Time.

85. Outside In, Maria V. Snyder
86. One Grave at a Time, Jeanniene Frost
87. Archangel’s Blade, Nalini Singh
88. Devil to Pay, Jeaniene Frost
89. Touch of Frost, jennifer Estep

Review: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood and The Duchess Of Northumberland

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure — or kill.n the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined 

I saw this reviewed on The Book Smugglers and quickly added it to my TBR list. It sounded really interesting and very different from the books I’d been reading recently.

I loved it’s tone and I really liked Jessamine. Weed was interesting but the father drove me crazy. You definitely got a feel for the era. It was easy to read, even when I was busy my stopping and starting didn’t jar the story. I felt it got a bit silly towards the end but all in all it was quick, easy and fun to read.

Rating: 4/6 – I liked It

Monthly Round Up: August 2011

I wish I could get out of this slump I appear to be in. Yes, I’m enjoying a lot of TV shows at the moment even though there’s still loads of books I want to read but never find the time. Obviously because I’m too busy sat in front of either my laptop or TV :/

Biggest disappointment this month was Working stiff. I thought that would be much better than it was, and I doubt I’ll carry on with the series. My fave was a toss between Inside Out and The enemy. I really enjoyed both.

79. The Poison Diaries, Maryrose Wood, The Duchess Of Northumberland
80. The Enemy, Charlie Higson
81. Working Stiff, Rachel Caine
82. Inside Out, Maria V. Snyder

I watched too many films during August:
Super 8
Bridesmaids
Kick ass
Up
Rise of the apes
Diary of the Dead
The Road
Friends with Benefits
Choke

I’ve also managed to watch a lot of TV. A lot. I obsessively got into Fringe and watched all 3 seasons and I finally started series 4 of True Blood (and finished :'(). I also caught up with Bones and Sons of Anarchy, both of which I’d gotten seriously behind on. So all in all a very good month for TV, but not for reading.

Review: Street Magic (Black London #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

 Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes—or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster’s chilling prediction has led police directly to the child…but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, Jack a shadow of his former self.  But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.  Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago

I’d seen a review for this somewhere (most probably Goodreads) and it instantly caught my attention. It sounded dark and gritty, both of which I really love so I kinda had high hopes.

We meet Pete in the middle of a case where children are going missing. It felt like I’d been dumped in the middle of something and didn’t know what the hell was going on, but saying that, that can be a usual thing for me. And although I liked Pete right away I Initially I found the 3rd person narration a little confusing. I don’t normally, but for some reason I did while reading this.

I was disappointed to be honest. Street Magic had everything I like but it never got me excited. There was just something missing that I can’t put my finger on. I don’t know whether it was the fact that Jack was a heroin addict, or that there was no spark between the two, I just don’t know. And I don’t just mean a romantic spark SPOILER (scroll to see) incidentally, I really didn’t understand why she’d offer to die for him. Up to that point it came across as she really didn’t care for him at all END SPOILER. 

I need to mention the swear words. They were so distracting. On one page it would be all Wankstick, demon-buggering gits, then on the next it would be fucking cunts and dickheads. You either commit to swearing or you don’t. The strange mix of hard and soft swear words just sounded stupid. 

Also I never really believed that they were in London. The story could have took place anywhere really. I first thought that it was maybe it was London USA until Big Ben chimed. But I never really felt it but that could be just my predjuice. If I think of London I think dank and dark Jack the ripper London. 

I never connected with Jack and I know it’s not the actual drug theme as I never had a problem with the drug use in the Downside Ghost series. It’s because he’s a heroin addict. It’s just a dirty stanky drug. I think if he’d had an addiction to a fictional drug, or pills, or anything else but heroin I would have felt differently but I just didnt like him because of that drug, and couldn’t take to him on an emotional level. I’ve already said that I liked Pete, and I did at the start but Jesus H Christ what a nag she was. I felt like yelling for her just to stop. She didn’t shut up whinging and moaning and after a while it wore on my nerves a bit. 

I just didn’t become emotionally engaged in the two leads or the story at all. Not at any point of the story did I feel like I knew what the hell was going on, even the magic was confusing and wasn’t very visual. The second half of the book was much better than the first but it wasn’t enough. I will read the 2nd book in the series though. I thought it was okay (I did finish it) but I had issues with it. I’m sorry I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would

Rating: 3/6 – it was okay

Review: Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling #10) by Nalini Singh

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness. 

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would’ve been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf. 
Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other’s secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight… 

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna’s darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home…and the alpha who is its heartbeat…

It feels like I’ve waited for this book for so long. I adore this series. Nalini singh is the author I use to judge all other paranormal romance by. In fact she has spoiled me. I was introduced to this series at the start of my foray into PNR/Urban Fantasy by a friend and it set the standard. Sometimes I wish I’d read Christen Feehan first, because at least then I wouldn’t have something good to compare it too. No one can beat Nalini Singh. No one. Hers are the only books I don’t ever roll my eyes too (okay admittedly maybe once during the first book!). They are the only books I’ve come across that have great romance coupled with an interesting and kiss ass plot. No other series/book combines the two quite as well, no where near as well.

Hawke’s story is one that has been slowly burning away in the background from book one (Slave to Sensation), and one I’ve been desperate to read. I’d read excerpts/quotes on Singh’s website and on Goodreads and they only whetted my appetite.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything I’d hoped for and more. Hawke and Sienna’s history being what it is, every look and interaction was filled with sexual tension. Both of them were at breaking point. The second romance between the pack healer, Lara and, Walker Sienna’s uncle, was an added bonus but I do wish they had their own book. I think they deserved that. There was also the birth of Sascha and Lucas’s baby which was lovely, and I enjoyed seeing the Changelings reaction to this.

There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered surrounding the Psy, and to be honest I was far more interested in the Changelings this time round. I really need to reread the book again (maybe slightly slower this time 🙂 ) to enable me to take more information in.

A fantastic read.

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Grave Witch (Alex Craft #1) by Kalayna Price

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she’s even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she’s seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she’s raising a “shade” involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn’t want her to know what the dead have to say, and she’ll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why.

I saw this book a while ago on a book blog or Goodreads, I forget which and I managed to picked it up a few weeks ago. It was the cover that caught my eye originally but the story also sounded really interesting so I didn’t wait too long before starting it.

Alex is a grave witch. She can raise and speak to the dead but she goes near blind afterwards. I really liked that using her grave sight had a price -I not sure why I like the fact that she became vulnerable, but I did. She isn’t stupid and that is a big plus for me. There’s nothing I dislike more than an annoyingly stupid heroine (coughMacfromDarkfevercough). Okay she rushes ahead sometimes and that can get her into trouble, but you can see why she couldn’t wait around so it’s easy to let that go.

Death (a sole collector only Alex seems to be able to see), and Falin (a police detective) are the two love interests and I liked them both. I felt that Death could have played a bigger part in the whole scheme of things than he did but because there was a lot more of Falin, it was him I felt I ‘knew’ better so was rooting for him throughout.

It was very easy to get into and the writing was really good. Alex is a rounded character and very likable. Death was cool but Falin was sexy.

I couldn’t put it down. I really, really enjoyed it.

A great start to a promising series.

Rating: 5/6 – Really liked it

Review: Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job. 

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate. 

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price.

I re-read the first 4 books in the Kate Daniels series in January (for the 3rd time). Mistakenly thinking this was due out the beginning of February. I was wrong and I was only slightly annoyed that I had to wait another few months (yeah this review is kinda old).

I love this series. I love Kate and Curran, and I love Ilona Andrews. Although I didn’t get ecstatic over the scenes from Curran’s pov, I did enjoy them.

Magic Slays was released on the same day as Kiss of Snow, the 10th Psy-Changling book, and another favourite series of mine. I ended up reading Kiss of Snow first because I’ve been impatiently waiting for that one for what felt like ages, but that’s neither here nor there regarding my preference.

The one thing about this series I’d forgotten about was the humour. In those short months I forgot how funny these books were. As with the other books, Magic Slay had me laughing out loud. I love Kate’s and Curran’s relationship and how they bounce off each other. The one thing that jumped out at me though was how violent they can be together when Kate is super angry. They get very physical and sometimes it’s hard to read.

As usual the story felt very visual. I love the world building of this series, and Andrew’s ability to put you in her world so easily.

A great read, and if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Hunted By The Others (H&W Investigations #1) by Jess Haines

Shiarra Waynest’s detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm – if it doesn’t kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York’s most powerful vampires. As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend – a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing – and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren’t always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil – whether she likes it or not.

I’ve been in a bit of a slum these past few days, flitting from book to book. I’d read a few pages of one then quickly leave it for another. Then the cover of Hunted by The Others caught my eye on Goodreads, I saw all the good ratings and thought why not. I’m kinda glad I did, at first.

Shianna is a PI, a PI whose business is in trouble and both she and it, are running in the red. Needing money fast she takes a seemingly easy job for a lot of money and bites of way more than she can chew.

I don’t know how I feel about this book. It started off good but slowly turned into Darkfever #2.

The weapon cave made me think of Batman but nowhere near as cool. There was lots of mundane dialogue, no humour and not very exciting. I don’t get why she was so special that everyone wanted a piece of her. I didn’t feel the attraction/spark between her and Royce either.

I quite liked Shianna but I’d like her more if she’d shown some loyalty instead of switching sides so easily. I get the she was struggling with the fact that there wasn’t a side she wanted to be on, but wow a show of fangs/a slight hint of a threat and she was anyones. A pair of balls wouldn’t have gone a miss.

With frequent info dumps, no excitement and a dull protagonist, I not so much struggled to finish this, more that I wasn’t really interest. After taking 3 days to read the first half of the book I finally seemed to settle into it around chapter 19. I still found the plot up to this point a little lame but I knew if I could get past all the setting up of the story/characters I’d start to enjoy it more because the writing was good.

I did hate the fact the belt could ‘talk’ but I guess I’m nic-picking now.

Chaz was boring and I didn’t trust him, in fact I didn’t really care for any of the characters and I guess that was one of the main issues I had with it.

I may get tempted to read the next installment in the hope of it getting better, but I don’t hold out too much hope.

Rating: 3/6 – It Was Okay