Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith

*ARC Received for an honest review, thank you!

Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an elder, but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must remain in control, but he refuses to say why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the immortals and doesn't even know his name. Finally breaking free to live a few years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky southern girl, or fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is, not what she will become. As she learns more about herself, Amelia realises that there is a thin line between love and duty. As her powers continue to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The questions is, will her head win the battle, or her heart?

Bound by Duty is a beautifully intense story about a young woman who must make the ultimate choice between a powerful love, and a duty to her people now under the reign of a sadistic and murderous Queen. I loved the world-building of this novel, especially the intriguing stories behind the characters who call themselves mages. I fell head over heels in love with Amelia and her tragic story of always having to do the right thing by her people, even though it destroys her to tear away from those she has come to love throughout the story. I don't know whether I would be as selfless as her. The characters are interesting and make me laugh and cry, and isn't that all you want from a story; for it to be engaging and emotional and make you immediately want the next book like now! A beautiful story, Bound by Duty will leave you needing more. 

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet

*ARC received for an honest review, thank you! 

Marisa MacCallum always believed that the man of her dreams was out there somewhere. The problem is-he's in another dimension. After the death of her father, eighteen-year-old Marisa's life is on the verge of imploding. She seeks daily comfort on her daily ride through the woods of Golden Hill, but when a mysterious lightening storm strikes, she is hurled into the ancient, alternate dimension of Carnelia where she is discovered by the arrogant but attractive nobleman Ambassador Darian Fiore. Stranded in a world teeming with monsters, maniacs and medieval knights, Marisa is forced to join Darian on a dangerous mission to negotiate peace with his cousin and archenemy Savino De Rocha. Along the way she starts to see Darian's softer side and finds herself falling in love. But once she learns he is locked in an arranged marriage, her heart shatters. When Savino falls for her charms and demands her hand in exchange for peace, Marisa is faced with an impossible choice: marry the enemy of the man she loves or betray them both and become the catalyst for a bloody war. 

Lately I've been moving away from the High Fantasy genre. Too many strange names to remember, too many different rules of politics, marriage, magic and so on. So I was a little bit wary when starting to read, hoping that I wouldn't be turned off it near the start and have to drag myself to the end. But I was enchanted with this story from the first time Marisa set foot in this new mysterious and intriguing land filled with monsters and rather charmingly handsome knights. I'm such a sucker for fantasy books! Luckily for me, there weren't too many challenging things to remember, apart from the whole line of royal ascension...did she end up marrying her cousin? That's the only thing I'm a bit confused about. While I really ended up enjoying the new fantasy world, some of the characters just didn't do it for me, and the plot was a bit obvious, I guessed it pretty early on but continued reading it in the hopes that I would be wrong...but I wasn't, so the climax really wasn't really, well...climatic. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the story, but probably wouldn't continue the series.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Curse of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner

*ARC received for an honest review, thank you!

How long can a monster hide in plain sight?
Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her Mum, she's travelled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she'll have to keep it that way. It's safer. When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope's life shatters. Is this the fulfilment of Apollo's curse? Is Hope, too, being hunted? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again. but this time there's no one to teach her who to trust-or how to love. 
Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance. 

I wouldn't have minded a bit more action to have taken place within the story, I was a bit let down in that aspect, but I instantly fell in love with Hope and Athan. They were both very interesting and unique characters, however, there was an added depth that I felt was missing from their personalities that would have taken this story from the 'great' category to the 'omfg-give-me-the-next-one-now' category. But I was very taken with the universe the story was set in, how mythology is something as well known as history and taught as much as maths in schools. For me, this is what made in gravitate towards the book, and I was not disappointed by what I found within its pages. 'Curse of the Sphinx' is a heart-wrenching story that had me reading for a solid four hours before it sadly ended way too soon. I cannot wait to see where this series takes the characters and readers both, I can tell that this is the start of something awesome. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, 3 August 2015

Gambit by C.L. Denault

*ARC Received for an honest review, thank you

In Earth's battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty. Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-enhanced military officer shows up at her village and questions her identity, long buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption and genetic tampering threaten everything of her existence as she's thrust, unwillingly, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she's never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with hidden agendas of his own. Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Gambit was exciting and entertaining, never leaving me bored or wanting to skip pages. I was quickly thrust into a world crossing the lines between a utopia and dystopia, making me question everything about this world of genetic engineering and power, as well as questioning the consequences of what could happen if humans play with nature to this terrifying extent. The world building was amazing and I was thoroughly entranced with all of the interesting and unique characters that came in and out of the pages. I'm sure that this is going to be an amazing new series that will spread like wildfire. 

Rating: 4/5