Monday 25 May 2015

Review on The Nirvana Series #2 Hunted

.After escaping from the Nirvana commune, twin sisters Jade and Peaches must adapt to life on the outside. Living with their grandmother is new and exciting, but Jade soon realizes she misses her friends and family back home. The last thing the twins want to do is return to the Nirvana community, where they will have to go through an eye surgery on their seventeenth birthday. After agreeing to visit a different commune called 'The Site', Jade and Peaches realize that there is no such thing as a perfect commune, and must decide if they want to return to Nirvana, or stay on the Outside.

I was so excited to find a request in my inbox to review the sequel to Kristy Feeltenberger Gillepie's brilliant novel “Jaded” that I was half tempted to abandon the book I was reading at the time so that I could get started! I adored Jaded and found the dystopian world of Nirvana original and interesting, so I had high expectations for “Hunted.” The story continues right from where it was left in “Jaded” so I was easily able to fall right back into the story of twin sisters Jade and Peaches.

This book constantly kept me on my toes, and there was rarely a dull moment throughout the entire story. I loved the new characters that were brought in such as Grandmother Goldenrod and Hunter. However I was slightly disappointed that Ty was not physically present for the majority of the book, as he was one of my favourite characters from “Jaded.” I loved how the twins had to learn about life on the outside. Jade and Peaches struggling with using mundane every day items such as mobile phones was funny as well as interesting, as we take these items for granted and expect everyone to know how to use them, so I loved that they had to learn how to do simple every day tasks.

I loved that the story focused on the relationship between the sisters, and the romantic elements were only a subplot. The majority of requests I get for fantasy or dystopian YA novels disappointingly focus more on romance than the interesting world the author has created, so it's refreshing to see two female characters who realize that there are more important things to be worrying about than boys.

Jade and Peaches staying in another commune was interesting, as they slowly realized that there was no such thing as a perfect commune, and that they were all politically corrupt in some way. I felt this showed a very realistic view of how this is the case in all societies, and that with human nature being as it is, we will never achieve a Utopian society.

Although I overall preferred “Jaded,” I thought “Hunted” was a strong sequel to a very promising book series. I would love to continue reading The Nirvana Series and find out what happens to Jade, Peaches and Ty once they move back to the Outside.

Hunted is available to purchase HERE

Make sure to read the first book in The Nirvana Series, “Jaded”

Monday 18 May 2015

An interview with Bonnie Ferrante

Today on the blog we have an interview with Bonnie Ferrante, author of YA fantasy novel Leya.

Hi Bonnie! Tell us a little about Leya.
Leya is a poor peasant girl with little hope for a better future. Being chosen by a Mistress of the Sphere of Vision is her only hope, but because she has two different coloured eyes, Leya will have to be exceptionally gifted. No one in her family has ever been chosen. Does she have potential for a vision gift and will one eye be strong enough to fulfil that potential?

What can we expect from future installments in the Sphere of Vision series?
I will be writing more books from different girls' viewpoints. They will all build toward the grand confrontation.

Where did you find the inspiration for the series?
I've always loved the phrase "The eyes are the window to the soul." What if they were also the doorway to individual magical gifts?

What made you want to write for a YA audience?

I enjoy reading YA. Probably 40% of the novels I read are YA. I love the intensity, the growth of the characters, and the inventiveness of plot. Basically, it's fun to write.

What is your favourite YA series?
Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

Did you relate to Leya or any of your other characters?

I think several of the characters have bits of me. Leya is a poor kid who is somewhat of a social outsider. Mistress Sangha is a teacher who cares for her students, sometimes too much. Caari is a girl who finds solace with animals.

Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
Leya is my favourite character because she shows the most growth.

If you could choose to have a Vision Power, what would it be?
Healing, emotionally and physically.

What book do you wish you could have written?
The Once and Future King by E. B. White.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be?
The collected works of Shakespeare.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Bonnie for taking the time to answer some questions. Leya is available to purchase now in both ebook and paperback formats.

Keep up to date on the Sphere of Vision series by following Bonnie on twitter 

Saturday 9 May 2015

My First Book Signing Experience!

So I realize I never review non fiction books and i'm not 100% sure if I will post a review of this book here on my blog but I had to share my first book signing experience on here! Carrie Hope Fletcher is mostly known for her Youtube channel Itswaypastmybedtime where she has over 500'000 subscribers. She currently plays Eponine in West End's Les Miserables and now she is an author!

All I Know Now is a part memoire and part advice book about what Carrie has learnt from her experiences as a teenager to adulthood. It deals with important issues that all young people go through such as bullying, body image and relationship problems. 

I was worried about how long the queue was going to be as unlike some of her signings, her signing at Liverpool was not a ticketed event, so it turned out to be on a first come first serve basis. So of course I panicked and turned up at 10.30am for an event that didn't start until 12pm. To my surprise however the queue was already huge! It really wasn't helping the anxiety I was feeling over not getting in.

As I turned up to the event alone I thought I was going to be awkwardly standing in the queue alone for an hour and a half. Luckily this was not the case! Carrie's fans, who call themselves Hopefuls are the nicest group of people you could ever meet. I met a girl who happened to share my name who had also come alone and had been having exactly the same thoughts as me! We talked to each other about our favourite Carrie videos, and also found out that we had other things in common such as a love for youtubers Dan and Phil and Doctor Who. 

After the long wait it was finally time to meet Carrie! As is often the case with book signings where the author is extremely popular, we were not given much time to chat to her, but I did mention how I had previously met her at stage door when I had seen her in Les Miserables. She was extremely kind and made sure that each person wasn't nervous. She seems like such a down to earth person despite her fame so it's difficult not to feel at ease around her. 

I really enjoyed my first time attending a book signing and I will definitely be keeping in touch with the lovely fans I met there!

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Review on The Enlighten Series #1 The Guardian, a Sword & Stilettos

When seventeen year old Zoe Jabril is attacked by Demon Knights, her life changes forever. Once a normal high school student who's only problems were exams and boys, Zoe is thrown into a world full of angels, demons, fairies and werewolves. With the help of her best friend Kieran, and Shay, a gorgeous nephilim boy who has taken a vow to protect her, Zoe must discover who and what she is, and find out if the prophecy about her is true.

The first thing I thought when I got sent a request to review this book was that it sounded similar to one of my favourite book series, The Mortal Instruments, so I was quick to snap it up. Although there were similarities to the series, I was glad that it was original for the most part, and loved the unique ideas behind what Angels and Nephilim are like. I liked that nephilim shared more similarities to angels than other portrayals I have seen, and loved that on top of being stronger and faster than humans, they also had wings.

The main downfall for me was that the majority of the book was centred around the romance between Zoe and Shay. When I accepted the review, I thought that, like Mortal Instruments, the romance would be a sub-plot to the fantasy world and the action. To my disappointment it was the other way around. I felt there was a lot of build up to Zoe's eighteenth birthday and talks of a war, but unfortunately non of that actually happened in the book. Although this is often done by authors who are planning to make the book a part of a series, I felt as if the book was a huge build up to an anticlimax, as although I loved the battle scene at the end, it was short lived with no causalities on the side of the protagonist. I felt that everything went almost too well for Zoe, as she had two gorgeous guys fighting over her along with them always conveniently being in the right place at the right time to protect her. As a bit of a sadist, I would have liked to see her suffer a little more.

I thought that the male characters needed a little more work, as Kieran and Shay's personality were extremely similar. I also found it strange how they acted like typical teenagers, such as Shay loving The Wanted and One Direction. As someone was in reality is over seventy years old, I felt that it would have been more realistic if he had been a little bit old fashioned along with keeping up with the times. I overall disliked Shay, and felt he was extremely sexist, as at one point he tells Zoe that all girls talk about are boys and how they only dress up and wear make up to impress boys. I was slightly disappointed that Zoe did nothing to contradict this, as every time she met up with Sidelle, all she talked about was her relationship problems. I also hated how quickly the romance between Zoe and Shay escalated, as even though they were soul mates, I found it annoying that they were dating each other after knowing each other for three days. I did however like Kieran, as he seemed to genuinely care about Zoe and didn't overreact or make a fuss when she chose Shay over him. Vash was an interesting character, but I felt that he came into the book far too late for me to have an opinion on him.

I overall found the book a little disappointing, as I went in expecting it to be an action packed fantasy story, when in reality it was a romance novel with a fantasy setting. I recommend the book if you enjoy cheesy romance stories, but if it's a fast paced fantasy story you're looking for then I would avoid this one.

The Guardian, a Sword & Stilettos will be released on 10th May.  Pre-order your copy HERE!