Posts tagged “young adult

All Those Books…Just Enough Time

It’s time for another quick update. I’m almost done with my back list of ARCs, but I’ve got a few more reviews to go. The next batch of amazing books – some of which I had to BEG for – include some of my favourite authors.

First off, I was given a copy of Hunt the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy with a request to complete the review sometime after the release date, so I’ll likely be posting a review for that this weekend.

The vampire Roke is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he’s allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how…

Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that’s what Sally keeps telling herself. She’s on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won’t be easy with Roke shadowing Sally’s every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn’t sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke – or with him…

The next novel with a review to be released after that will likely be Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. The publication date for this novel is July 22, 2014, so I’ll be aiming to post a review a little after that. This is a final installment and I don’t want to spoil anything.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Then we’ll be getting a review of Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye, which will hit stores on August 5th, 2014. I guaranteed a copy of my ARC for this novel after much hassling, bargaining, bribing, begging – and quite possibly blackmailing, but I should be able to get you a review of this a few days before the publication date. 😉

Eternal Obsession

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Finally, I’ll be writing a review for How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries (release date August 19th, 2014, which means the review will be released at least a day before.)

Lady Zoe Keane’s father is pressing her to marry a cousin she’s never met. As Lord and Lady Olivier’s only child, spirited Zoe will one day inherit the title of countess and their Yorkshire estate, the land she adores—but she wants to marry for love. Then an unsolved family mystery shatters her world: is it possible Zoe’s birth mother was actually a Romany named Drina? Desperate to know her true lineage, Zoe hires the Duke’s Men to search for the woman who will determine her destiny.

Tristan Bonnaud is the man for the job, and not because the roguish investigator cares about a spoiled aristocrat and her inheritance “problem.” To protect himself from his villainous half-brother, Tristan needs to track down his Romany horse trader friend who has information about a decade-old scandal—and this young beauty’s far-fetched case is just the excuse he needs.

But if untangling the past isn’t risky enough, the sizzling attraction drawing the scoundrel to the lady is the most dangerously seductive surprise of all. . . .

Rika Ashton

(aka Blogger With No Middle Name)

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Divergent: A Movie Review

Note: I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but read with caution regardless. 

So guess who got tickets to the advanced screening of Divergent? This girl!

Before I go on, I should confess that I have never read the book by Veronica Roth …I know, I know…Oh, the horror! But I was actually kind of happy I didn’t read the book, because my movie buddy, who had read the book, said it was very true to the novel so she wasn’t surprised by the way things turned out in the film.

DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

As for me, I thought the film was okay. It was entertaining, which is always must for me. (If I get bored by a film, I might not be dramatic enough to walk out, but I will complain after the fact until my family can’t take it anymore and decides to lock me out of the house in retaliation…something that happens far to often.)

The film makers did a decent job of setting up the dystopian world in the city of Chicago, which consists mostly of partially destroyed buildings in the background. The city is also divided into factions by the government: Erudites, Abnegation, Amity, Candors, and Dauntless. (For anyone, who has read the novel, this might sound familiar.)  The different aspects of the world were well-explained in the film, and I wasn’t scrambling too much to fill in any gaps. However, I did find that the lines between some of the factions seemed a little blurred. For instance, the Abnegation and the Amity groups seem to be very similar in function. But, of course, the heroine Tris turns out to be divergent, which basically means she was “born to be undefinable” – which is basically the overall message of the film.

This leads into my next issue: the Choosing Ceremony. I never quite understood why it was such a big deal. Tris basically gets to choose the faction she wants to be a part of (Dauntless, in this case), so I really didn’t get why the parents and government made such a big deal of the ceremony. (My movie buddy later told me the reason was better explained in the book than the film, and while I can blame part of my confusion on lack of better attention, I am fortunately not solely at fault.)

However, the films’ leads, Woodley and James, had great chemistry – especially in the EPIC lip-lock, which is admittedly my favourite part of the film. Woodley was also in almost every scene of the film and did her best to portray a teenager turned rebellion leader. I also though that James did a decent job at acting the part of the mysterious Dauntless, Four.

That said, the rest of the cast including Kate Winslet and Maggie Q were sadly underused – surprising considering the potential star-quality of some of the actors cast in Divergent. (That, and I found Winslet’s American accent a bit distracting – this was really the one time they should have stuck with a British villain.)

But the slow start to the story soon gave way to fast-paced action, with a lot of fast moving trains! And since action films are my favourite kinds of films, I wasn’t complaining much at this point. Along with the action in the latter half of the film, the next best thing about Divergent was that there seems to be no love triangle in sight, and the story really plays up the chemistry between the main leads rather than focusing on unnecessary drama.

Yet, overall, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the film. It had some good points and some bad ones, but it didn’t bore me to tears – of course, it didn’t inspire me to write a sonnet either. So as things stand, I’d say Divergent was an average film. It didn’t entirely stand alone and, despite what I thought earlier, it might have been a good idea to read the book before going in. For the mathematically inclined, I’d give the film a passing score of 2 out of 4 stars.

Rika Ashton

(aka, The Film Reviewer)


The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain: An Advanced Review

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of The Shadow Prince from the publisher in return for an honest review. (Also, I should mention that the review may contain some minor spoilers.)

I finally got a chance to start tackling my ARC reading pile, and The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain was at the top of my list. This may or may not be because I am completely biased towards Greco-Roman retelling. (i.e: Because I am in LOVE with fantasy stories based in this realm.) Of course, my love for all things Greco-Roman was one of the reasons I was so ecstatic when I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Before I get into the review, lets all take a moment to drool over the AMAZING cover art! 😀 I love the symbols in the background and the colour scheme…I shortlisting whoever designed this cover and hoping I get the chance to talk to him or her when my book finally gets published.

As for the story beyond the cover…did it live up to the cover? Absolutely!

Despite being a young adult romance, this novel starts off with an epic beginning. We get a glimpse of the Underworld right of the bat and the world building only continues to get more amazing. Not to mention, we open with the mention of a dead person – Haden’s mother in this case:

I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I’ve been punished every moment of my life. 

Because it was a young adult, I was expecting the novel to read like a young adult, but the language and world are very sophisticated and are written well enough to interest an adult audience in the starting of the novel.

But the best part was, although the novel was written in first person, it switched perspectives between Haden and Daphne so we got to glimpse both their internal conflicts which made the story easier to follow – and more interesting because we didn’t get annoyed with either character for monologuing for too long.

Of course, the story does take liberties with the mythology, but that’s to be expected in a work of fiction. The whole Haden and Daphne relationship was a parallel for the Persephone and Hades myth. (Although, when I first read the back cover blurb, I thought Daphne referred to the nymph Apollo “fell in love with” and “tried to have his way with” but this was quickly disputed by all the references in the story.)

But the one thing that annoyed me about Daphne was that she was so perfect – it made her hard to relate to at times. I wanted her to have a flaw – it could have been something simple, but it never came up.

And as for when Haden and Daphne finally meet, the novel begins to play out a bit more like a young adult. The characters are both around 17 and attending a performing arts high school, and I felt that the plot introduced in the back cover blurb does get a bit lost in the high school aspects. Of course, this could be because I loved the whole epic Underrealm set-up in the beginning of the book and I wanted to see more of the Princes, etc. Also, personally speaking again, I am not a huge fan of the high school drama but this aspect of the novel shouldn’t have surprised me because – again – this was labelled as a young adult novel.

I feel like I have to stress that aspect of the novel, because the starting of the novel was so epic that I was sorry to see it change into a typical high school drama. But it is part of a series, so maybe the following novels will pick up on those more epic plot points of the story.

That being said, I did like the novel. Parts of the novel were really enjoyable, and I liked the world-building involved in creating the Underrealm. And I’ll probably continue reading the series to see where it goes. 🙂

Rika Ashton

(aka The Book Critic)


From the Land of ARCs: Part 2

Remember when I mentioned by busy schedule and all the ARCs I still had to review…well, my “to-read” pile has just increased in height because three more books have been added to the list.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond delighted to receive the wonderful review copies and super-excited to begin reading, but I need to get way better at time management if I’m going to survive the next two weeks!

The latest ARCs I have received are vastly different in genre, but no less fun:

1. The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain. Yeah, so Greco-Roman mythology…how could I say no? This is a children’s/young adult novel releasing on March 11th in stores.

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Doesn’t this book just sound crazy epic?!

2. The Witch of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney. This is the second book of the Sinclair Clan series, of which I also have an ARC for book 3. It releases on April 29th.

Logan Harrison is looking for a wife. As the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, he needs a conventional and diplomatic woman who will stand by his side and help further his political ambitions. He most certainly does not need Mairi Sinclair, the fiery, passionate, fiercely beautiful woman who tries to thwart him at every turn. But if she’s so wrong for him, why can’t he stop kissing her? He is completely bewitched.

Mairi Sinclair has never met anyone like Logan Harrison, the perfect example of everything she finds wrong with the world. He’s also incredibly handsome, immensely popular, and impossible to resist. His kisses inflame her and awaken a passion she can barely control.

Can two people who are at such odds admit to a love that would bind them together for life?

3. The Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted by Gail Simone. I got this ARC from DC Comics and, since Batgirl is one of my favourite characters, you can only imagine the goofy smile on my face when I got the email. This comic releases on May 27th.

Batgirl struggles to continue fighting crime after being emotionally drained by the death of her brother, James, Jr.  With her relationships with Batman and her father strained, Batgirl face one of Batman’s most ruthless villains, The Ventriloquist, alone. Collects Batgirl issues #19-25, Ventriliquist #1.

I’m interested to see how this Barbara Gordon will be written…the story sounds like it’s going to be heavy from the start.

Rika Ashton

(aka, “I’m drowning in my TBR ocean!”)


Endless Knight by Kresley Cole: Blurb Reveal!

(…and a possible spoiler reveal. Shhh!)

For eager readers of Kresley Cole’s “Arcana Chronicles” series, we finally have a blurb for Endless Knight and it reveals a little more about why Death is on the front cover, including his relationship with Evie!

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles, Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all.

In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed. Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight.

Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history – one that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack.

Determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

Rika Ashton

(aka “Why isn’t it October yet?”)

P.S: If you would like to discuss your thoughts on the Endless Knight cover (part 1) or see the full cover flat (with Jack on the back cover, aka part 2), click the hyperlinks to visit past posts. 😀

P.P.S: If you’re even more eager, then there is an excerpt available at the end of the Kindle edition of Macrieve, involving Jack, Evie and a bathtub! 😉


Endless Knight

Hello fellow book cover enthusiasts,

So I have yet to finish reading Kresley Cole’s, “The Arcana Chronicles” – her YA series. But I did adore the cover for the first novel, Poison Princess.

However, the cover for the second novel, Endless Knight, which Kresley Cole revealed yesterday on her Facebook fanpage is…well, it’s less exciting.

The cover follows the same rules as the first novel, such as the boy and girl on the cover, but this time with a background landscape covered in snow instead of fire.

But it somehow falls short of the first one…

It could be because the male model’s hair colour blends with the background, so you think he has an oddly-shaped, bald head at first glance – not that there’s anything wrong with being bald, but you would think that the cover artist would have thought of this, especially after seeing the first copy of the print.

Perhaps, the picture will “pop” on the actual, physical copy of the book – afterall, metallics can work wonders.

If you LOVE this cover, if you HATE it or are somewhere in between, let me know by leaving a comment below. (You are free to rant about your feelings, I promise.)

Rika Ashton

(aka The Slightly Disappointed)

P.S: If you’re the cover artist, you are free to defend your choice. Perhaps, I just don’t have the artistic eye to appreciate the genius that is the cover of Endless Knight.


Cover Madness!

First of all, the next novel by Lydia Dare. I believe that is Lady Madeline Hayburn (introduced in Never Been Bit, Sorcha and Alec’s novel) and her hero, one of Dash’s brothers (not sure which one, yet…but you all are welcome to guess).

The next cover belongs to debut author, Susan Dennard. The first book of the Spirit-Hunters trilogy:

How could I forget Jennifer Ashley’s next Mackenzie series book…Hart and Eleanor:

And finally the next in the Chronicles of Nick series because I adore Nick: