Friday, 29 August 2014

The Mill River Redemption Blog Tour and Review

The Mill River Redemption: Blog Tour and Review

'A touching story that encompasses the whole gamut of human behaviour with love and chariy' 
Red on The Mill River Recluse

Having unexpectedly lost her husband and lacking the means to support herself, Josie DiSanti and her two daughters take refuge in the small town of Mill River to live with Josie's aunt, Ivy. The sisters, Rose and Emily, are inseparable growing up - until a shocking tragedy tears them apart. 

Years later, Rose and Emily return to Mill River for the reading of their mother's will where they learn that Josie would do anything to force their reconciliation: the sisters must move into neighbouring houses for the summer and work together to locate the key to Josie's safe deposit box, which contains their inheritance. And so, left with no choice, Rose and Emily reluctantly begin their search. But in a place known for its magic and miracles, little do they know that an even greater treasure awaits them....

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse, comes this enchanting story of family, self-discovery, love and forgiveness.

About the Author

Darcie Chan is the author of THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE, an originally self-published debut novel that became a word-of-mouth e-book sensation. With more than 700,000 copies sold, THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists for more than 30 weeks and became a heartwarming favorite of readers across the country.

"In the short time that I’ve been a writer – which is a description of myself that I’m still getting used to – I’ve learned a few things.  First, you should always expect the unexpected.  And, there is sometimes more than one path that will enable you to achieve a dream. For me, being able to get my first novel in front of readers as an e-book changed my career and my life. I will always be grateful to every person who read The Mill River Recluse, and especially those who took the time to review it, mention it to a friend, or send me a note of encouragement. Those readers – my readers – made my dream of being an author come true.  I only hope that my future books return to them some of the great happiness and enjoyment that they have given me."

My Review
After receiving a review copy from Little Brown Books UK, I was excited to dive headfirst into the second novel of an author I had heard so much about. Darcie Chan had taken over the world of literature, and hers was the name that passed everyones lips when recommending a great summer read. Shamefully I wil ladmit that I am yet to read The Mill River Recluse, however after flying through page after page of The Mill River Redemption, I know what the next book on my "To Be Read" list is. 
The Mill River Redemption brings a story of love, loss, friendship, family and mystery all rolled into one book of incredible literature that had me hanging on every word written by Miss Chan. When I discovered that the book was written in third person and flipped between different character viewpoints, I was a bit wary. I'm not normally a fan of third person writing, however this book was easy to read, and fitted together flawlessly. To add yet another difficult feat into the writing, Chan not only switches character viewpoints, but also time. The chapters are divided equally between modern day, focussing primarily on the lives of the two estranged sisters - Rose and Emily - however the book also takes us through the life of Josie DiSanti, from the week after the death of her husband in 1983 to 2011, two years before the story resumes with the sisters and the death of their mother. I was surprised to discover how I didn't favour one time or the other, I was desperately yearning to finish a chapter to read the next part of each family members story. 
On page 24, at the wake of their beloved mother, Rose and Emily are left a letter detailing what they must do in order to receive their mothers last will and testament; a glorified, adult version of a treasure hunt. Personally, I was ecstatic. I love treasure hunts, and I hadn't read a novel that included a treasure hunt for a very long time. I was thrilled and incredibly curious to see where this would take the story, and how Chan would evolve the treasure hunt over the course of the novel.
As the story progressed, I became increasingly curious and frustrated at how many mysteries Darcie Chan had successfully incorporated into this book. 

1. Why/How did Tony (Josie's husband) die, and why was Josie so afraid?
2. What happened to the sisters, why did they become estranged?
3. Who gifted the house to Josie? (I expect this has something to do with Darcie's first book)

These three mysteries were so well intertwined with the story that I found myself desperate to know the answers, so much that I read long into the night, only to finish the book and discover it was past 4am.

The characters created by the author were exceptional. I associated myself very quickly with characters that I loved, and those that I grew to despise. Emily, one of the sisters, is created as a kind, open hearted, friendly and down to earth girl who grows into a wonderful women, whilst her sister, Rose, is a character which I hated with a burning passion. The things that she says and does and her actions made me determined to never become like her. Amongst Rose and Emily were the characters of Ivy, Claudia, Kyle, Alex, Sheldon, Darcy, Ned, Ruth, Fitz and of course, Josie. All with their own individual personalities and traits, and all with a back story. Every single character was written in a way that they had some importance, something that made you either like them or despise them, but either way they weren't just there as character fluff - they became real people, and I personally would love to read individuals books by Chan all about every character she mentioned and wrote so flawlessly.

Within the novel were beautiful gems of writing, gems that I will take and hold on to for all my life. Quotes that left me breathless with their beauty and insight into human nature. Sentences that made me laugh until my stomach hurt, or cry until I had no tears left. A total emotional adventure was created by Darcie Chan in the Mill River Redemption. With twists and turns on every page, this book never had a dull moment, and left me hungry for more long after I'd turned the final page.

The novel crosses genres from Family to Chick Lit to Mystery and Cosy Reading, incorporating beautiful life lessons and advice that I will take to the grave.

"Loving someone unconditionally is never pointless. Even when it results in your getting hurt, you can still learn from the experience." 

If you are interested in following the remainder of the blog tour, or seeing past reviews for The Mill River Redemption, check out the schedule below!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout

A while back I received a review copy of White Hot Kiss from Harlequin Teen and Netgalley, however at the time I was in France, then California and finally in Turkey. I've spent the past few months travelling and whilst I have had my kindle, my internet connection has been pretty sparse, thus I have been unable to really commit to posting my reviews until this week. 
I have so many books that I want to talk about, and so many books that I want you to talk about! 

Today I'm going to post my review of White Hot Kiss.
I feel as this is a Jennifer Armentrout book, multiple GIFs of Supernatural are appropriate throughout the entirety of my post. If you are a fan of hers, you will understand why. 

Dean's winking at you, Jen.


One kiss could be the last. 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world

My Review: 

So first and foremost, I want to start off by saying Oh My Gods, Holy Alien Babies, Son of a Sinner, this book was incredible.
I'm giving this book a 1,000,000 out of 5 star rating for how unbelievable AWESOME this story is.
I am one of the people that run the Jennifer Armentrout approved official Luxen Army fan page, and I am totally in love with the Lux series and Jen herself. Daemon Black? He is the definition of sexy, however I have to admit I have been swayed to the Sins of Roth in White Hot Kiss. This book surpassed all my expectations, and overtook Obsidian for the number one spot of my books of all time (except for the Bible).
Bravo Jen.
The first installment of The Dark Elements series introduces us to some amazingly lovable, and pretty damn sexy characters. Layla, the offspring of a demon and a warden, is introduced on the first page, and the story is written from her point of view. Now, with the likes of Katy and Alex being penned by Armentrout, I was expecting yet another kick-ass sassy character, and I wasn't disappointed. Infact, I was shocked at how incredible Layla is. She comes off as humble, yet confident. Beautiful, yet modest. Sarcastic, sassy and down-right awesome. Her character is shown to evolve throughout the first book, which is something I find a lot of authors actually miss out when they write their characters. They introduce a great character, however they aren't really that flawed or they have no room to grow throughout the series as the storyline progresses further. Layla starts off being pretty shut off and small minded about Demons. 
It is explained very early on that Layla was raised by Wardens. What are wardens, you ask? Well they're these guardian stone angel like creatures that are kind of like ninjas crossed with police men that have super powers, and they're on Earth because of the increasing demon population that is walking among humans, and whilst the humans have no idea that demons are actually real and on earth, they are fully aware of the wardens. What people don't know, including Layla's best friends, is that Layla is in fact half warden herself.

Yep, somehow, even though the human race know there are actual Angel creatures on earth, they still haven't connected that Demons exist. It's not really that far of a stretch, so this kind of confused me, however Jennifer managed to incorporate this piece of information so it didn't actually matter that much that humans have yet to connect Demons with Angels. To be honest, I think it's actually something that could happen, as the human race is pretty unaccepting of anything that different from us. We kill our own kind in really unnecessary wars all the time, so overlooking Demons is probably something we would do, as we wouldn't  be able to really accept the concept very easily or happily at all. 
I do however find it ridiculous that people haven't realised Layla isn't human - she's the only "human" to have ever, in the history of ever, lived with the Wardens. Come on. That's really not that difficult to connect the dots with. Ah well. 
In the next book, I would really, really love to see more interaction with Layla and her human best friends. There was a bit in this book, but I'd love to see more. I really enjoyed reading Katy's relationship with her mum and all of her human friends at school within the Lux series, so that's something I'm hoping Jen will expand on throughout the series.

Within White Hot Kiss, there are two, unbelievably wonderful smokin' hot men. Zayne - a warden, and brother like figure to Layla that she has been crushing on since forever, is tall and blonde and what I would expect an All-American boy to look like, or maybe one of those Abercrombie and Fitch models with rock hard abs (he is made of stone). On top of that, he's sweet and funny and kind and smart and just beautiful.

Enter Roth.

Roth is possibly the hottest, sexiest, most delicious book character I have ever had the fortune of meeting in my dreams. Despite the fact that he's a Demon, he's pretty perfect. Except, the fact that he's a Demon really doesn't phase me, because honestly? He's also sweet and he very clearly cares about Layla.
I wish I was Layla.

The story, as it evolves, shows us deeper levels of the characters, making them realistic and very likable, which is something that I need to make me fall in love with a book series. You can connected with these characters, and Jennifer Armentrout makes the reader feel as though they are there, living the life of Layla and experiencing everything she goes through. All the ups, the downs, the pain and the gain. Her first kiss, and slightly more. The hurt and joy she feels. All of her emotions are twisted in a powerful literary whirlwind and thrown right in your face. And I loved it.

Within the book, there are some beautiful quotes, that make you want to re-evaluate your relationships, and basically your entire life up until that point. White Hot Kiss is a work of incredible genius, and I would expect nothing less from an author such as Jennifer Armentrout.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say this.
You need to read this book. It's not a suggestion, it's an order.
If you are female, male, transexual, transgender, white, black, green, yellow, a glowy alien, old, young, a time lord, or anything in between, you need to read this book.
White Hot Kiss is a must-read for fans of books in general. Books of any age, type or genre. Forget To Kill A Mockingbird, or Jane Austen and read White Hot Kiss, a work of literature so great, it's in need of its own class.  

The only downside is, once you've read it, you have to wait until October for the next installment, Stone Cold Touch, to be released.

I am certainly counting down the days on my calendar until Stone Cold Touch.
Are you?

Friday, 22 August 2014

ARC Review: Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

Last month I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini.

As many of you may know, Josephine Angelini is one of my favourite authors in all of history. Her Starcrossed series is one which I have read multiple times, and I fall in love with it in a new way every time I read it. Angelini is such an incredible author, and I was so excited for Trial by Fire to be released. 

Can you imagine my reaction when I was sent an ARC?

It went something like this:

When I got the book in the mail, my first thought was how beautiful the cover it.
I know it's just a proof, but it is gorgeous.

Outside box/cover

The book:

Back of box/cover:

Isn't that just the most incredibly stunning cover you've ever seen? No? Well, you need your eyes checked.


"This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?"

My Review:

"I also remember what I owe for my life - what I did to keep it. I remember what I must do, even if it makes me the villain of my own story" - page 37

When I first heard about Trial By Fire, I was so excited. I am a huge fan of witches, magic and all things supernatural. The synopsis itself tied my stomach in knots with anticipation of reading this book, so it's safe to say I had pretty high hopes for not only the book, but the characters and Josephine Angelini herself. I had no idea how she could top the Starcrossed series, and I was slightly worried that the first book in the Worldwalker Trilogy would fall short of my expectations.
From the very first page, my nerves were calmed and my expectations met. For the first two chapters, the book follows modern-day real world Lily Proctor, who is dying of her allergies. In the very first line, we are introduced to this incredibly sick girl, running in to the girls bathroom at school in need of vomiting intensely. Not the most pleasant of introductions, but for some reason, it shone Lily in an endearing and humbling light. 
From the first chapter, it became obvious how much family would be a vital part within this book, and that is something that I adore. Family is the most precious gift we are given in this world, and when we lose our family, that is when we are truly alone. Angelini manages to create family bonds throughout all of her universes within the World Walker series, talking about how no matter what universe they are in, there isn't a single Juliet (Lily's sister) that doesn't love Lily. It is very clear to me when reading that Lily's Mum, a diagnosed schizophrenic in one world, is actually able to see through the dimensions and see other versions of the people around her, whilst everyone else just assumes that she is crazy. 
As the book unfolds, the story grows more complex and fascinating. I felt compelled to read page after page, even into the early hours of the following morning. Bravo Josephine Angelini. It is very rare that I will give up my precious sleep for anything less than genius, and in all honesty, genius is what this book is.
Within the writing, Angelini has included little gems of writing and quotes that rival the likes of J K Rowling.

"She'll be back."
"How do you know?"
"Because you can't run from yourself forever." - page 51

This is one of my favourite lines from the whole book. It is completely true, because even in a world without magic, eventually you have to stop running from yourself. You need to step up and accept who you are, and be proud of it. 
A conversation I regularly have with my friends is about fictional boyfriends and relationships within book series. I find it extraordinary that someway, somehow, authors can make us fall in love with a boy that doesn't exist. In some books, I'm not that bothered about the romance or the love. I really don't "ship" Katniss and Peeta, or Katniss and Gale. I didn't fall in love with either of them, however I completely fell in love with Rowan, and even more so with the relationship between Lily and Rowan. With every page turn, I was desperate for romance, desperate for the relationship to be taken that much further. His character infuriated me, made me laugh, cry, scream and at one point, my ARC even took a flying trip across the room I was so aggravated. And honestly, I loved it. Angelini took me on an emotional rollercoaster, turning me inside out and making me question everything I thought I knew about relationships and love.
Trial By Fire is, a Doctor Who style concept book, with magic and parallel universes. It is a must read for fans of Harry Potter and Doctor Who.
The series revolves around the concept that there are an unlimited number of parallel universes, each one slightly different from another. This is a theory that has actually been explored by many scientists before, and I am so fascinated by the concept that I couldn't wait to start a series that revolved around something that I am always eager to delve further into. Josephine Angelini successfully managed to take something that has been argued over for decades and turn it into this wonderful mashup of science, fiction and magic. 
In every book that I read, there are always certain lines and paragraphs that make me desperate to read more and finish the book, and this was certainly no exception. I finished the entire book in one sitting, and it took me just over three hours. The time flew by, and as it did, the book crept its way up my top ten list, surpassing the Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout. 
In under 400 pages, Angelini manages to pack everything that any reader could ever want into a perfect combination of ingredients, forming what is without a shadow of a doubt the book of the year. Action, adventure, magic, science, romance and family bonds are all present within this mind-blowingly awesome roller coaster ride of a book.