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Scarlet "Cupcake Queen" (Somerset)

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Serenya's Song (Tallenmere Book 2)
Serenya's Song (Tallenmere Book 2)
Price: £1.87

4.0 out of 5 stars More adventures in Tallenmere, 29 July 2013
Serenya's Song is the story of Jayden Ravenwing after he leaves Caliphany at the end of A Ranger's Tale and Serenya Crowe, daughter of an innkeeper, born with strange abilities including interpreting dreams and married to the Lord of the Manor & Earl of Summerwind, Sebastian Crowe.

Serenya and her father, Douglas, move to Summerwind after the terrifying events surrounding Serenya's birth. Her mother died in childbirth and when she was minutes old the village was attacked by unknown assailants. Unhappily married but still strangely drawn to her bully, abusive husband Serenya meets Jayden when she escapes her prison-like home late one night and literally crashes into him. On discovering that he is in Summerwind to get away from his past and that they share a passion for music the two become close. For Jayden it's love, even knowing that Serenya is married, but she can't and won't leave her husband, torn between the two men. Serenya is struggling with not knowing who she is beyond the fact that her mother, Alina, was a wood-elf. With no explanation as to why she has claws at the end of her fingers and constantly has to wear gloves so as not to frighten people, suffering horrific visions and, as the story progresses, developing an intense craving to feed on meat so strong she starts to wonder whether she is insane, a fact compounded by Sebastian who tells her that this is the case, she inherited this madness from her mother and that no-one must ever know or she'll be locked up in an asylum for the rest of her life. Add to this a mysterious elixir which, at first, Sebastian forces her to take, saying it will mask the effects of the madness and give her enough time to have a child. As this is the one thing she wants, a family of her own, Serenya is soon willingly taking the 'elixir and pushing aside her conflicting feelings for Jayden, her bewilderment about why she is still desperately attracted to her brutish husband, she battles on trying to be the Lady of the manor, strong, dependable and completely sane.

Serenya's Song is a completely different read to A Ranger's Tale but I enjoyed it just as much. Serenya is a completely contrast to Caliphany, having faced adversity one way or another all her life she is a much more well rounded character with more strength and depth to her. It was really nice to see Jayden in love, the right way, rather than loving someone who could never quite commit the way he wanted. There were lots of great new people in this one too, in particular a Paladin named Sir Robert who was such a fantastic character he gets his own book. The storyline, the plot and the writing all felt much stronger in Serenya's Song, as in her first book I find it heard to believe Ms Parker doesn't have a string of books out! It kept me turning the pages rapidly, there was never a dull moment and even in the action's downtime there was still enough going to completely hold your attention. The next installment of Tallenmere, Hearts of Exile, is about Sir Robert (the Holy Paladin mentioned above) & his lost love, Loralee and is out now! Come payday I'll be buying it - even though by then the book ban will be in place...


Viral Nation
Viral Nation
by Shaunta Grimes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical heroine!, 29 July 2013
This review is from: Viral Nation (Paperback)
Our story opens with what should be a happy occasion - a new baby - but this is no ordinary day and lives are most definitely not happy! A virus is spreading throughout the United States, wiping out millions with no hope of survival, until there's a knock at the door of the Donovan family sadly too late for Clover's mother. Fast forward sixteen years, Clover has just finished school and been accepted to the Academy where future researchers, engineers, doctors and leaders are groomed. The orientation day doesn't quite go as planned for Clover and things rapidly go downhill for both her and her brother West.

Clover, the main character, is autistic and has a service dog named Mango who was one of many things I loved about Viral Nation. I will freely admit I don't know much about autism although I do have friends with children who have Asperger's. With what little information I do know, Clover came across perfectly with her tics and traits, her coping mechanisms. I loved West, Clover's brother, who is the trigger for all the adventure in the book and Jude, the boy she meets at the Academy before things go pear-shaped. West was written so realistically, he genuinely loved Clover but wasn't afraid to show his frustration with her, and their situation. He's had to more or less raise Clover by himself after their father joins the Execution squads but not once do you get the sense he would ever give up on her. Jude was a wonderful character and I loved how he "got" Clover although after some rather relevant information is disclosed about how he is so good with her it was easy to see why and made you fall in love with Jude just a little bit more. I also love that there's just a hint of romance which takes Clover completely by surprise, not something easy to do!

What I loved most though was that I was expecting another straightforward YA dystopian novel but oh how wrong I was! YA dystopian time travel has just become my new favorite genre. What's different about Viral Nation is that whilst everyone is being wiped out by this virus or plague it turns out there is a time portal under Lake Tahoe which allows people to see two years into the future. This portal is operated by Time Mariners or more specifically, Messengers whose fans Clover is recruited into.

From start to finish Viral Nation was a fast paced read that I didn't want put down until the last page was turned and that's exactly what I did. Apart from anything, it was easy to see how the descriptions of what happened and how people lived after the outbreak of the plague was eerily possible in our world and how the bad guys weren't always the bad guys, how they thought they were doing the right thing with their best intentions even though naturally they weren't. The world Shaunta has created, with the plague and time travel, was exactly the sort of books I wanted to read, both her writing, characterization and world building were amazing. There were some fantastic plot threads starting to unravel by the end with some twists and turns that took me completely by surprise. I can't wait to see where Shaunta takes Clover, West and the rest of the gang and I can only hope I'm lucky enough to read the next book in the series early again! This gets my top rating of five stars because I stayed up all night to finish Viral Nation, turning the light off at 5am!


The Year of the Great Seventh
The Year of the Great Seventh
by Teresa Orts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YA with a difference!, 28 July 2013
Sophie is your average high school student, with a casting agent for a mother and a history professor for a father, who rather than get caught up in the celebrity lifestyle wants to follow in her father's footsteps and loves history. Nate is the good looking popular boy, the one who Sophie thinks would never be interested in a girl like her, the one who would be more interested in her girlfriends who both work as actresses when not at school. One day though, the impossible happens and Sophie catches Nate staring at her but before she can turn away something strange happens and she sees what can only be described as a vision, of a row of stone coffins engraved with strange symbols. Little do they know but life is about to become a roller coaster for both of them.

Strangely drawn to each other but at first without knowing why, Sophie and Nate battle to be together, especially after Nate inexplicably beats a boy so badly he needs hospital treatment when he mistreats Sophie. You begin to wonder why Sophie would want to be with someone who has anger problems and whether this is going to be a severe case of insta-love. Thankfully it's not, it's all part of this Egyptian prophecy and Nate reveals he is the latest member of his family to be afflicted by a curse meaning that he will gradually go insane, becoming more and more violent, maybe even ending up in an institution before killing himself - or someone else. Pursued across the country from Los Angeles to New York this story is about the race to save Nate's life and stop him destroying Sophie's. At first Nate pushes her away, especially after the violent incidents that occur but Sophie is persistent and doesn't give up easily, because of this Nate accepts that Sophie might be his only chance at survival.

I have to say the 'bad guy' of the story surprised me, when this character first popped up I though they couldn't possibly be an important part of the story given his connection to Nate (which I shan't divulge here, you'll need to find that out for yourself) and given the extremely casual way in which he was introduced. It was only later in the book that I was metaphorically smacking myself and thinking it should have been obvious! I was unsure about both of our main characters at the start, they both seemed quite stilted in their dialogue and I was worried that Sophie was going to be one of those YA heroines - insipid, characterless and a pushover - but she surprised me with her strength, persistence and determination not to give up on Nate. She also stayed grounded and focused on school & her future, even when going against her mother's wishes she still went to visit the school of her dreams and meet with an old friend of her father's, a fellow history professor. I did find it strange that neither of her parents checked in with her considering that her father sent her off across the US on her own without her mother knowing, you would have thought that at least he would have been phoning her regularly to make sure she was alright. This seems to be a common problem with parents in YA novels though so possibly just me being picky, pretty sure if that was my parents I would have been receiving phone calls every five minutes!

Overall a near perfect blend of mystery, mythology and romance, Year of the Great Seventh kept me turning the pages and unable to put the book down until it was finished. It was such a refreshing change and I loved the clues interspersed throughout the book, I even found myself googling bits of mythology to refresh my memory! My only complaint is that I now have a long wait until the next instalment of the series is available, especially as Year of the Great Seventh finished on a humdinger of a cliffhanger...


A Ranger's Tale (Tallenmere Book 1)
A Ranger's Tale (Tallenmere Book 1)

4.0 out of 5 stars Not a big romance reader but I loved it!, 21 Jun 2013
After a slow (but good) start A Ranger's Tale races along at a fast pace. There are secret organisations, pirates, ogres, trolls and all manner of fantastical creatures making for a great fantasy read but ultimately this is a romance.. The story is about Caliphany, sheltered daughter, full blooded elf & niece of the King of Leogard and Galadin Trudeaux, half human, half elf, ranger & ship's captain who meet when Cali is attacked by two men at the docks.

On discovering that Galadin is a ranger Cali decides to put into action her plan to break free from her stifling life & arranged marriage and begs him to train her so she can survive by herself. They have three months to do so whilst Cali's father is away and in that time the inevitable happens, Caliphany & Galadin fall in love although this is never admitted by either of them until, having been locked up by her disapproving father Cali escapes using her new-found skills and stows away on Galadin's ship. The pair declare their love for each other but unfortunately the path of true love never runs smoothly and tragedy strikes. This is where I fell out of love with the characters a bit as I'm not a fan of love triangles in the slightest and, considering her circumstances, Cali moved on a bit too quickly for my liking. Both men were interesting characters but it was blatantly obvious from the start who was a better fit and even though Jayden was her childhood friend he just didn't mesh as her husband. Thankfully, without being too spoiler-y, there's a happy ending for everyone involved!

A Ranger's Tale was well written and held my attention all the way through once I got sucked into the story, hard to believe it's a first novel at times. I loved the development of all the characters but especially Caliphany, she went from whiny & petulant (more like a teenager than a century old elf) to a strong, confident woman perfectly capable of looking after and making decisions for herself. I'm excited about reading the next instalment of Tallenmere, Serenya's Song, soon and hopefully it will be just as good as this one!


Marware MicroShell Folio Lightweight Standing Case for Kindle Fire HD 7", Pink (will only fit Kindle Fire HD 7" [Previous Generation])
Marware MicroShell Folio Lightweight Standing Case for Kindle Fire HD 7", Pink (will only fit Kindle Fire HD 7" [Previous Generation])

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very pretty but not practical, 28 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this (in pink) seconds after ordering my Kindle Fire HD, they both arrived at the same time but only one put a smile on my face. I opened the box containing the cover and immediately thought I'd been sent the wrong item. This cover - to me - is flimsy, insubstantial, not protective in any way, my Kindle slid out after supposedly being safely clipped in, the stand does not 'stand' and most importantly, to charge your Kindle Fire HD you have to take it out of the case. Sadly not impressed and it's on its way back first thing tomorrow.


Barnyard Mahjong HD Free
Barnyard Mahjong HD Free
Price: £0.00

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great time waster!, 28 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Barnyard Mahjong HD Free (App)
Easy way to pass away a few hours completely unintentionally, tiles are easier to see than traditional Mahjong tiles. Lots of fun :)


Cupcakes
Cupcakes
by Susannah Blake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst recipe books I've tried!, 31 Dec 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cupcakes (Hardcover)
I bought this book over 2 years ago to add to my ever-growing collection but have only used it on a couple of occasions. The 2 recipes I tried came out okay but I was a bit puzzled by the quantities as nothing seemed like it was quite enough and it certainly didn't make the number suggested in each recipe.

Fast forward to today when we needed a quick, easy recipe for tonight's festivities - the Christmas cupcake recipe was chosen and from the beginning had us both wondering if we were reading the quantities wrong. Carefully weighed and placed in the mixer, I turn it on to cream butter & sugar - only to find the beaters merrily beating fresh air! There was not enough butter or sugar to even reach the bottom of the beaters... Fast forward to all the ingredients being added and all that's in the bowl is barely enough mixture to make 6, never mind the 12 suggested in the book. And I hope everyone is a fan of figs and glace cherries as they seemed to make up the bulk of the cake mixture.

Not impressed and am going to donate the book to either a school, charity shop or library - I definitely won't be using it again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2010 1:50 AM GMT


Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontė
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.61

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love the story but the Twilight inspired cover makes a mockery of a classic!, 28 Aug 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wuthering Heights (Paperback)
I cannot believe that one of the greats of English literature has been reduced to this. Don't misunderstand, I have read the Twilight Saga and liked the books but come on, just how much more are we going to let Twilight influence our lives? A revamped cover aimed at teenagers would have been a brilliant idea but basically copying Twilight's cover - stupid! I'm about to buy a copy of Wuthering Heights for my 16 year old niece, I definitely won't be buying this copy. Oh, and actually it's not Edward's favourite book as anyone who has read Twilight should know, he dislikes it greatly!


Breaking Dawn: Twilight, Book 4 (Twilight Saga)
Breaking Dawn: Twilight, Book 4 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as I expected!, 5 Aug 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
*minor spoilers*

When I started hearing all the negative comments about Breaking Dawn I admit I was slighly worried and thought about not reading it but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there are some totally unexpected/unnecessary storylines but you can't please everyone - I'm just happy that Bella and Edward get their 'happy ever after'. Some parts felt a bit rushed and I wish there had been more Edward in the book - not being a fan of Jacob I wasn't happy to discover that part 2 was entirely from his p.o.v. but you don't get everything your own way!


Robin Hood - Guy of Gisbourne 5" Figure
Robin Hood - Guy of Gisbourne 5" Figure

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mini squeeeee!, 16 Jun 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I'm older than the first reviewer but who's going to turn down a chance to own Little Guy?

He sits on my desk next to my laptop when I'm writing - puts a smile on my face when I hit a wall in my writing! It's not an exact minature of Guy but close enough. My nephews think it's hilarious that I have Little Guy - I think I might get the castle next.....


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