Wednesday, 6 May 2015

ARC Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Pub. Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 448
Readership: Young adult
Genres: fantasy

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.  
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?  
Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

Let me start out by getting my initial reaction off my chest: yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!!!!! Ok. Now that that is over with, let me get into my actual feelings regarding Crimson Bound.

I had high expectations going in because Cruel Beauty was definitely in my top five reads of 2014 and those expectations were definitely met. Crimson had the same beautiful prose that Cruel Beauty had, the same plot twists and the same intricate characters.

Rachelle is our lead, and our morally-grey protagonist. She had to make a tough choice at a young age and she choose to stay alive. Now she fights for people while she thinks - knows - her soul is doomed for hell. She does it because maybe she can try to be a little less of the monster she thinks she is. Maybe some of the blood on her hands can be for the good of the people she protects.

I also loved the world of Crimson Bound. It was a high fantasy but with a light touch. We had all the makings of one with it's out of this world creatures, royalty, monsters, powers, the forest and the Forestborn of that very forest but it wasn't such a world that was hard to immerse yourself in like some of the worlds of high and epic fantasies are. It was easy to follow what was happening in that world and not have to stop and remind yourself of all the intricacies of it. Rosamund did a fantastic job of creating a wholly original world that was beautifully built and easy to follow.

I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of Armand at first and it took me a while to warm up to him. I just didn't get him, you know? I had a "I know this guy is going to be a big hit but I'm just not feeling it" kind of feeling but I realized about a hundred pages into his introduction, I liked him. I also loved Erec from the start, and through to the end amidst all the plot twists that came about. Erec my beautifully malicious little [bleep]. I really like it when you can love even the villains of a book. The best villains to me are the ones you can love right beside the protagonists.

Crimson Bound was packed to the rafters with action as well as the superb characters and character development. If you like a book with both, then this is definitely a great one to pick up. If you love beautifully written prose, this is definitely your book.
★★★★★ I LOVED IT *Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* PURCHASE (amazon) (amazon kindle) (the book depository) (chapters/indigo)

*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! 
Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* 


Thursday, 26 March 2015

TOUR: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Cursed by Fire
Author: Danielle Annett
Release Date: January 28th, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Designer: Mae I Design


It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.


The light began to fade from his eyes as I crawled across the floor in an effort to reach my father. My nails were raw and bloody as I struggled to carry myself closer to him, digging into the rough wooden floors with each drag of my body.
“I’m coming,” I panted in between breaths. “Just hang on, Papa, I’m coming.”
I woke gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat, clutching the hilt of my dagger as if my life depended on it. I frantically looked around the room in search of our attacker while also taking stock of any injuries. I was perfectly whole.
“It was just a nightmare,” I told myself, though that did little to ease the ache in my chest over the remembered pain. I miss you so much.
Rubbing my hands over my face, I pushed back the wet, loose tendrils of hair that had escaped my braid during my fitful rest and returned my dagger to its resting place beneath my pillow. Taking another deep breath I registered a hint of smoke.
My eyes roamed over the room, frantically looking for the source of fire.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
I untangled my body from the sheets, tripping and falling into a heap on the floor before I was able to crawl out of my covers and retrieve an old shirt. I frenziedly swatted at the bedroom curtains with the old t-shirt but the flames continued to rise. Deciding there was no other choice, I ripped the curtains from the window and rushed to the kitchen.
Throwing the curtains into the sink and turning the faucet on all the way, I watched as the flames were snuffed and steam began to rise. The curtains ruined.
Turning the water off, I allowed my body to slide down the smooth wooden cabinets until my bottom met the cool tile floor. I folded my arms across my knees and rested my forehead against them. Closing my eyes I took several deep breaths, my heart still racing from the effects of the recurring nightmare. This was getting out of hand. I had thought the nightmares were fading, but something was bringing the memories back with a screaming vengeance and this was the third time this week they’d plagued me. I missed my parents but it’d been over six years now. They weren’t coming back and I needed to let it go. My subconscious needed to let it go and I needed to let Daniel’s death go. Not the case, no, I wouldn’t let that go. But his death was affecting me in ways I couldn’t allow to continue.
I breathed deeply in an effort to calm my nerves. Small tremors racked my body, the nightmare had shaken me more that I’d like to admit. My skin was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. A physical reminder that I needed to relax before I accidentally caught something else on fire.


1.1. I crochet. My great grandmother taught me when I was a little girl and I actually really love doing it. I'll admit to not being that great at it but I recently made my niece a baby blanket and my daughter a hot pink beanie.

2. I am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy and have followed the series from the very beginning. It is honestly the only television series that has every held my attention for so long and I'm quit obsessed.

3. I have more of a salt tooth than a sweat tooth and am a sucker for Lays potato chips, though they have to be the originals. No flavors and no ruffles, they're just not the same. 

4. My fiancé and I have been together for six years and are expecting baby number two this coming June. We'll be welcoming a baby boy into our midsts and our daughter who is just not turning 5 is starting to get excited. When she first found out it was a boy, she asked if we could trade it in for a girl but I think she's warming up to the idea of a brother when we mention they can play legos together.

5. I'm as much of a reader as I am a writer. I blog behind Coffee and Characters ( and probably read around 50-75 books a year. Reading is such a passion for me, I couldn't imagine a world without books and writing has only really taken hold in me within the last two years. I'll also admit that my love of books started when the Twilight craze first hit. I wasn't much or a reader at the time and only read the books after some severe pressure from friends of mine. Its safe to say I devoured the series, giving it credit to my book passion, but quickly moved on to devour all things YA i could find before moving into adult reads which originated with the Sookie Stackhouse series. Book one is the serious had me seriously blushing since prior to it, I'd only really read YA and school assigned books when I was younger

About the Author

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

ARC Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Pub. Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 400
Readership: Young adult
Genres: contemporary

There's death all around us. We just don't pay attention. Until we do.  
The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.  
Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.  
As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.  
Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Heartbreaking. Authentic. These worlds immediately sprung to mind the second I finished The Last Time We Say Goodbye. I absolutely loved Cynthia’s Unearthly series so I had a feeling that I would love this book too. And yeah, I did. More than I loved Unearthly, even.

Lex’s brother died. He committed suicide and it turned Lex’s world upside down as it would anyone. Before she had her family together, a boyfriend, and like the synopsis said, friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. 

First, let me start with the writing. It was beautiful, absolutely. I loved that we were able to see Lex’s present but also what lead up to Ty’s death. We got to know Ty - through Lex’s journal that her therapist told her to write in - to see him and what he went through and what led to his suicide. While I don’t personally know anyone who has committed suicide, I know people with mental health issues and who have attempted. I know what it’s like to have depression and I know how hard it is to get through it sometimes. Cynthia captured it perfectly: the turmoil of the person that committed suicide themselves and the lives of those left behind. 

Lex’s pain and grief jumped out of the page at me, it felt so raw and so real. She blamed herself. She couldn’t cry, she couldn’t let it out, because no one knew just how deep her pain and blame went. She feels like she’s going crazy because she keeps seeing Ty everywhere, what she thinks is his ghost, and she begins to fracture even more. That is such a real thing, such a normal thing, but she can’t believe that and thinks she’s losing it.

I loved seeing Lex’s friends. All of their reactions are so normal to a death by suicide. They see their friend fragile too, like at any moment Lex could break so they treat her with a tender touch but Lex doesn’t see it that way. This is so normal, for anyone who knows someone that died. They don’t know how to react and all of Lex’s friends reactions in the book are so normal.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a book that is going to stay with me. It’s one of those reads that I’ll carry around with me and think about from time to time. It’s as much haunting as it is beautiful. It is about grief and loss and learning to accept it. It is about moving on as much as it is about mental illness and suicide. It was so, so good. 

*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* 


Monday, 2 February 2015

REVIEW: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Pub. Date: January 27th 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 222
Readership: Young adult
Genres: sci-fi

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.  
Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who is the fairest of them all?  
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Wow. I admit, at first I was a little pressed that Winter wasn’t going to come out until Fall 2015 instead of, well, winter. However, then the news of Fairest was released and I admit, I was intrigued. A Levana origin story… I love me a good villain origin story. I was sure that Fairest would make the wait for winter worth it. 

And it did!

I have always loved Levana in the way that I loved Maleficent and Te Red Queen: they were great, creepy, fantastic villains. They may be bad but damn, they do it so well. 

I love that we got to see Channary. I love that we got to see how Levana was more than just a product of her upbringing. It was chemical. It was both. I loved that we got more of Winter and Cinder’s upbringing and past. 

Marissa was brilliant in that she weaved in what could have potentially been difficult into Levana’s origin: understanding. Not acceptance of the horrible things that Levana was done but an understanding as to why she did what she did and why she is doing what she’s doing. That is not something that is easy to do but Marissa did it perfectly. 

She was also able to make the dislike and resentment of Levana grow more than ever before. Because Evret. Oh, poor sweet Evret the world did you wrong. I loved learning about him and seeing his life unfold, even through the bad. 

Levana became more of a monster than she ever had been and I loved it. It definitely made the wait 
for Winter worth it.

*Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing an copy for review!!! Follow @raincoastbooks on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* 


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

ARC REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Pub. Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Readership: Young adult
Genres: high fantasy

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.  
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.  
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Snow Like Ashes is a lot like the books I've been reading lately: high fantasy, filled with magic and a war beyond the protagonists power. Basically, I had to read this book. I was thrilled when I received an ARC through HCCFrenzy but I put off reading it for just a little bit because I was so inundated with other books.

I picked it up one night after a long day of classes and got through the first 50 pages easily. But I wasn't sure how I liked it just yet. Meira felt a little flat and puppety in the sense that I really wasn't sure why she was doing what she doing. She felt like a two dimensional damsel that's trying to be a soldier but falling short and just kind of flopping around on the pages with no real zeal, doing things that the others wanted her to do. I felt like this for the next 50 pages as well. Usually if I'm not sure about a book one hundred pages in, I call it a day and throw in the towel. However, I was fascinated with the magic of the world and the eight different kingdoms. Eight! Each were unique unto themselves, not just the fact that four of them had the same season all year round. So I kept going and wow, I am glad I did.

I don't know what it was exactly, but after about the first hundred pages, things really turned around. New characters were being introduced that I immediately liked and the ball was really rolling for the band of refugees. I suddenly went from being indifferent to the novel to not being able to put it down, so much so that I... didn't sleep much until I finished the book. Again, this has never happened before. Like, ever.

I think part of what had me initially weary on the book was the "romance" between Mather and Meira. It just felt like nothing. It felt stale and forced and I wanted nothing to do with it but then, since I got through those first hundred pages, everything turned around and it all became clear.

That said, I loved all of the characters. Even evil as all heck Angra was someone I enjoyed reading. Theron though, was by far my favourite. I fell for him the moment he appeared and wished he was in it way more. I wish we got to see the rest of the Winter refugees more and got to know them outside of Meira, Mather and Sir. I hope we get to in the next book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes and I am excited to see how the story progresses in the next book!

*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!*


Monday, 6 October 2014

GIVEAWAY! Fall Release Giveaway.

Hey lovelies! It's been a while since I've held a giveaway so I thought I would hold one for fall releases since fall is my favourite time of the year.

Below are some options that you can choose from but should you win, you can pick any book that's been released this fall.

  • The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as the Book Depository ships to you. 
  • Ends December 2nd 2014 
  • I will contact the winner immediately after I've chosen them and they have 48 hours to reply or I will choose another winner

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 15 September 2014

ARC REVIEW: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Pub. Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 256
Readership: Young adult
Genres: mystery, thriller

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.  
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.  
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

What an interesting read! When I first heard about Blackbird it was via GoodReads and I was intrigued by the plot immediately. Strange girl? Abandoned on some train tracks? No idea of who she is or how she got there? Ok, I'm in! I love me a good amnesia story and Blackbird flipped the trope on it's head by giving it a suspenseful, action packed ride.

What's most interesting about Blackbird is that it's told in second person, which is something you rarely see in fiction. I like it for a number of reasons. You're in the character's head as much as you would be in second and even maybe first person but you also get a sense that someone else is pulling the strings, that someone else is telling the story and that they're whispering in the character's ear. You do this, you do that. It's an eerie thing and it works perfectly with the story because "Sunny" has absolutely no idea who she is or why she was dropped in the middle of LA on some subway tracks.

The pace was fantastic. It wasn't too fast like some action based books could be but it wasn't slow, either. It kept me reading until well past midnight when I probably should have been sleeping. While turning the page lead to more and more questions than it did answers, I still enjoyed watching "Sunny's" journey into finding out what had happened to her and who she was. Even when it was revealed who she was and what exactly was going on, that only lead to more questions and "oh, shit"s.

I've never been much of a reader of straight up contemporary because we all know I'm a sucker for the sci-fi or the fantasy, but this was a good contemporary thriller. It felt a bit like a sci-fi at some points because I was wondering just who was behind "Sunny"'s amnesia and what exactly was going on with the dreams, the memories and this mysterious island. Blackbird has a little bit of everything.

By the end, I'm still not sure how I feel about "Sunny". I was rooting for her to get all of her answers and to find that mysterious boy from the island and her memories, but it felt like there was a little something missing. But that could be how it's supposed to be due to the eerie second person narration. For all we know, there is some big reveal to come in book 2 that throws us all for even more of a loop. The other characters were very likeable too. There was Ben, the boy from the supermarket who has a bit of a thing with "Sunny" but there might be more to him than what we see on the surface. I quite liked Ben. He was sweet and caring but not in one of those over-bearing, please stop ways.

All in all it was a very enjoyable read, not to mention a fast one. It's perfect if you want a fast but gritty, action packed ride. Blackbird is awesome!

*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!*