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Pamela Roach (UK)

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Beat the Band
Beat the Band
by Don Calame
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, 8 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Beat the Band (Paperback)
Coop feels like his world is falling apart. Best friend Matt is always with his new girlfriend, Val, Sean is moping over his ex...then he gets paired with Hotdog Helen in health class.

The ridicule starts swift and sure, the masses branding Coop `Corndog'. The last thing he wants is to be around Helen or be associated with her. Then he hears about the Battle of the Bands. Coop figures, if he wins, people will back off and remember how cool he is. What Coop doesn't factor in is the other kids. His reluctant friends for one...and the popular girls who are out for humiliation.

One thing is for sure, health class has changed Coop forever.

So, I have to admit, on behalf of all girls everywhere, I cringed with pretty much every word that came out of Coop's mouth. At first. His attempt at flirting and even the way he viewed girls almost made my skin crawl. Had Coop been at school with me and acted like that, I'm pretty sure I would have reacted very similar to the popular girls.

That said, it didn't take long for Coop to totally charm me. I loved his sense of humour and the grim determination to get the band off the ground. And yes, I even snort-laughed at Coop's, er, tummy problems, in the library. Seriously. I couldn't see the page from the tears of laughter.

A lot of people will say Coop is a shallow and flawed character. And he is, absolutely. But like all people, he is capable of change. And as is usually the case, it starts with a girl. I understood Coop's reluctance to get closer to Helen. High school can be hard enough without the added pressure of doing something you know will get you teased mercilessly.

Beat the Band is cringe-worthy, romantic, hilarious and full of surprises. I am looking forward to the next instalment of the series and seeing the world from Sean's point of view. But Coop is a hard act to follow, and I can see his book being my favourite.

Wolf Springs Chronicles: Unleashed: Book 1
Wolf Springs Chronicles: Unleashed: Book 1
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Werewolves romance, 8 Feb. 2012
Katelyn's life is explicably changed when her mother dies suddenly. Uprooted from the life she adores to live with her grandfather in Arkansas, Wolf Springs is like nothing she has ever experienced before. Surrounded by dense woods and zero cell service, Katelyn feels more alone than ever.

Every small town has its fair share of secrets, but Wolf Springs seems to have a bucket load. She learns a girl her age was killed in the woods and with another falling victim to an unseen danger lurking among the trees, Katelyn is totally right to be edgy.

But there are upsides to Wolf Springs. Beautiful Cordelia Fenner takes Katelyn under her wing and shows her the ropes of the high school. Gorgeous and friendly Trick is her ride to school, and welcome flirting partner. But then there is Justin, Cordelia's cousin. Justin sets her body on fire and is drawn to him even though she shouldn't be.

Cordelia's strange behaviour and Tricks's inconsistencies makes Katelyn wonder who she can trust. And who she should flat out avoid.

Unleashed had all the foundations for an amazing book. But to be totally honest, it fell a little flat for me. Katelyn wasn't the strong, wilful character I desperately wanted her to be. After losing her mother she is understandably grief-stricken and full of anger, but it is quickly forgotten when she focuses on what could be in the woods. What bothered me most were her instincts - they were just plain bad. She listens to people and takes everything they say verbatim while ignoring the facts right in front of her, and who has always had her back.

The interactions Katelyn has with Justin felt creepy and wrong. She meets him for a fleeting instant and she wants to throw herself on him. Of course there is such a thing as lust or love at first sight, but there was a wrongness to it that made me feel uncomfortable. Even when Katelyn learns something upsetting about Justin, she can't keep her desire under control when around him.

The saving grace in the novel is Trick. Smart, funny, reliable if somewhat mysterious. His bond with Katelyn is instantaneous. He gives her something she needs after uprooting her whole life - someone to lean on, laugh with, be comfortable around. There is no question that Trick is hiding something, but it never felt malicious.

Unleashed asked more questions than it answered. With a name like Wolf Springs Chronicles, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what the angle might be. That said, I was taken by surprise a few times. We are left with gaping holes in the story by the end of the book, enough to ensure I will read the next in the series.

I wouldn't recommend anyone to not read this book, but I wouldn't actively promote it either. If you keep your expectations low, this book won't disappoint.

Firelight: Number 1 in series (Darkest London)
Firelight: Number 1 in series (Darkest London)
by Kristen Callihan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical Paranormal, 8 Feb. 2012
Miranda is haunted by her gift. Able to manipulate fire, it is her defensive weapon that she loathes. In her father's house she feels like a prisoner. He blames them for their misfortune and little money. So when the offer for her to marry the infamous Lord Archer, her father rejoices.

At first Archer is cold and aloof, a stranger behind a mask. But as Miranda gets to know her new husband who won't touch her, she knows him better than anyone ever has before. When Archer is accused of being responsible for a series of gruesome murders, Miranda is determined to prove his innocence...and step by step remove the mask.

Firelight had an eerie and dream-like quality to it. A romance set in a horror story. The reader is kept guessing what Archer hides behind the mask, and how terrible it may be. But, like with Miranda, the better we come to know him, the less it matters.

Miranda is a sassy and street-wise character and extremely likeable. Her determination to get to the bottom of what Archer is hiding aggravates him, but he has finally found his match in her. Archer himself is like the Phantom of the Opera only noble and true. The passion they feel makes Miranda's fire feel like a cool wind.

I adored the interactions between the pair, and the puzzle of the story. Highly recommended.

Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan - Book 1) (An Avry of Kazan Novel)
Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan - Book 1) (An Avry of Kazan Novel)
by Maria V. Snyder
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing, 7 Feb. 2012
Avry of Kazan is a healer. Once a revered magic, now it despised and hunted and Avry faces certain execution if caught. She has been on the run for three years after the dreadful plague spread across her land, stealing the lives of many loved ones. Three years since she has gotten close to anyone, three years since anyone has really known her.

As a healer, Avry finds it almost impossible to ignore someone who needs her help. So when a dying toddler attracts her notice, Avry knows healing the child is worth her execution. But before her death can be carried out, she is rescued from her cell by a mysterious man who needs her help to heal a friend. Avry knows he is the lesser of two evils but the longer she is with him and his men, her heart softens as she is enveloped into the strange and disjointed family.

Avry is an extremely likeable character. Sarcastic with a sharp sense of humour, unshakeable honour and strong-willed - more than a match for the disagreeable Kerrick. I love a protagonist who can handle herself, one that doesn't cower in the face of danger. Avry can more than handle herself in trouble - usually because she herself is the cause of it.

Kerrick and his men are all totally different characters. Belen is the Poppa Bear, taking care of everyone with a ferocious temper should anyone mess with his family. The monkeys, Loren and Quain always keeping things light and full of good humour. Flea, the adopted member of the pack with a penchant for trouble. And Kerrick. Oh, Kerrrick. Tough. Grumpy. Gorgeous. Smells like spring sunshine. Need I say more?

Touch of Power is full of exhilarating action and adventure as the gang get into their fair share of scrapes. I found myself almost holding my breath throughout the book, and more so as the end grew closer. And yes, I even sighed. A proper girly, swoony sigh.

Even though I read the book within twenty four hours, it feels as though I spent years with the characters. A long period of time passes over the course of the book, and because of it I almost feel like I took the journey with Avry and the gang.

Full of action, pain, loss, romance and impossible goals, Touch of Power will appeal to a broad audience. Quite simply, this is one of the best books I have ever read. After I had caught my breath, my first instinct was to rush out and grab all Maria V. Snyder's other books. It isn't very often this happens, but when it does, I know I have found something very special. This book will be re-read so many times, I can see myself wearing out more than one copy.

The bar has officially been raised.

Fallen in Love
Fallen in Love
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Series Filler, 6 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Fallen in Love (Hardcover)
What better way to fill the time between books in a series you love, than a lovely valentine's novella?

Fallen In Love had the same feel as the other books in the Fallen series, but shorter and with something beautiful - a new insight into the angels.

We get snippets of Roland's lost love, his struggle with balancing who he is and someone he thinks will never accept him...and wonders if it is even fair to ask her to try. Arriane gets her own chapter and Cam gets a small look in also (thank goodness - I am majorly Team Cam!)...but the most touching was Miles and Shelby and their portion of the book.

The nephilim work together with the angels to try and give Luce and Daniel something the never get - a Valentine's day together and no drama with it.

There isn't a lot to be said about Fallen In's short and to the point and oh so perfectly written. Fallen fans will adore it and make the wait for Rapture that bit more easier. Or harder. Depends how you look at it!

It is a very, very quick read and the main focus is definitely not on Luce and Daniel, but on the other angels. That said, it was a very, very good quick read.

If I Die (Soul Screamers)
If I Die (Soul Screamers)
by Rachel Vincent
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Epic instalment of YA series, 31 Jan. 2012
If I Die was another epic instalment of the Soul Screamers series.

As a teenage bean sidhe, Kaylee Cavanaugh is no stranger to death. She's saved her best friend countless times, gone to hell and back for a rising pop star's soul and even stopped a swarm of demons from descending on her high school dance. But this time, the person Kaylee may have to save, is herself.

When she learns her name is on death's list and she has mere days to live, Kaylee would do anything to change it. But death doesn't allow for third chances, and it seems her death is unavoidable. So if she's going to die, she damn well is going to make sure everyone she cares about is safe before she goes. And for now, that means rounding up her friends to get rid of the incubus who has taken up residence in her school.

But those around her aren't as accepting of her demise. Kaylee's father and reaper friend, Tod, fight tooth and nail to change her expiry date. With the reaper assigned to claim her life stalking her, Kaylee knows that anyone who tries to intervene will suffer the consequences. Kaylee must re-examine her life if she's to put it in order before she checks out. And she may just find a few interesting facts she has overlooked. Which only begs the question - what would be her dying wish? Or wishes. Come on, a girl has to get something out of death, right?

I absolutely loved If I Die. Kaylee is a spunky character with plenty of heart and spirit, and definitely not one to run away from a fight. Many people in her situation would have curled up or gone in total denial mode. Not our gal. Even when faced with her own death, Kaylee can't help but try to save someone else first.

The action steadily mounted throughout the book and had me sitting on the edge of my seat by the last page. Kaylee and Emma's banter lighten the scenes to let you get a breather, but I have to admit they brought a tear to my eye a couple of times.

There are plenty of surprises in If I Die that took my breath away and even though they caught me by surprise, they felt so right. This book will not disappoint fans of Rachel Vincent or the Soul Screamers series. And they will be dying to get their hands on the next instalment.

by Harriet Castor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome YA historical novel, 31 Jan. 2012
This review is from: VIII (Hardcover)
VII was the unforgettable account of one of our countries greatest monarch. Henry Tudor.

We are introduced to likeable child Hal, second son of the king of England. Hal is woken by his mother to flee his home to seek safety in the Tower. There is threat of an uprising in England with someone leading them who claims to be someone he cannot possibly be. Someone that makes Henry's mother very nervous. She is sister of the infamous princes in the tower. As a sister she cannot help but hope the rumours are true and they are alive, but as wife to the King, she has to pray it is an imposter.

The bulk of VII is comprised of Hal's childhood, as he struggles under his father's firm hand and seeks the comfort of his mother. He becomes a cocky youngster, his physical attributes and abilities shaping a confident young man. But with a shadow looming over him. Hal is only the spare to his brother's heir. A replacement. Someone who can easily disappear once there is no need for him and his brother is on the throne. But then the tables turn and it is Hal who is named King.

The ghosts that haunted him as a boy manifest into demons in his older years. Suspicious and greedy, we are taken on a journey that turned loveable Hal into infamous Henry VII.

I've read a great deal on Henry VII, and while there are a few nitpicks I could make about this novel, I have to commend it for doing not only a stand up job, but make the life and times of Henry accessible to everyone. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this novel as they delve into the darkest places within Henry VII.

A Midsummer Night's Sin (Blackthorn Brothers Novels)
A Midsummer Night's Sin (Blackthorn Brothers Novels)
by Kasey Michaels
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steamy regency romance, 15 Dec. 2011
A Midsummer Night's Sin is the second instalment of the Blackthorn Brothers series. Robin `Puck' Blackthorn is well known in the ton for revelling in pleasure...and a famous bastard. But when attending a masked ball he finds himself lusting after the one woman who refuses to fall for his charms.

Regina Hackett didn't want to go to the ball, especially not unescorted, but when her dear cousin Miranda begs her to go so they can enjoy one night of freedom, she doesn't have it in her to refuse. The evening takes drastic turns as Regina finds herself in a forbidden embrace with the ton's most famous rake, and they discover Miranda has been taken.

Puck vows to aid Regina in finding her cousin, but in doing so they uncover their fair share of secrets in the Hackett family, and embarrassing truths come to light. But with all their faults, Puck is still infatuated with Regina. And as they spend more time together, Regina is sick of fighting the desire she knew was there the first moment they met.

Filled with taut romance and a dark mystery, A Midsummer Night's Sin is a treat for anyone to enjoy.

Incubus (Fairwick Chronicles 1)
Incubus (Fairwick Chronicles 1)
by Carol Goodman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing folklore/romance, 22 Nov. 2011
Folklore and mythology have always been a large part of Callie's life. Her parents told her stories that felt real to her, and after their untimely death, a handsome prince visited Callie in her dreams to continue their stories. But they all stopped when Callie started researching her book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers.

Callie is on the hunt for the perfect teaching opportunity at a university. She is less than impressed with Fairwick, but nevertheless something draws her in, enticing her and changing her mind to stay. Especially when she discovers Honeysuckle House and it seems to call her home.

When she moves into her new home, Callie is greeted by an old friend. Her handsome prince returns to her dreams, only this time he is not interested in telling her stories. Every night Callie has intensely orgasmic and toe-curling dreams of him that feels so real her muscles ache come the morning. Her co-workers at the university stage an intervention, and inform her that she is being preyed upon by an incubus. But he isn't the only mythical being at Fairwick, and Callie learns she has been living and working alongside witches, faeries, even vampires. Callie knows she must expel the incubus before he devours her, but expelling him from her heart proves a lot more difficult that banishing him from her home.

The Demon Lover had an amazing mix of folklore, sexual intensity and mystery. It was refreshing for a book to go back to the bare bones of paranormal, the ancient views of demons and mythical creatures rather than the somewhat jaded modern types. The relationship between Callie and her incubus is intoxicating and their chemistry leapt off the page.

Callie's discovery of what Fairwick is really like proves life-altering for her, and leads her to question her own background. Watching Callie grow as a character and make incredible decisions was a pleasure to read, and I am sure not to forget The Demon Lover for sometime yet.

This book is full of heat, difficult choices and incredible sacrifice. Be drawn into the incubus's charm and let this story seduce you.

Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) (Chemical Garden 1)
Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) (Chemical Garden 1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome dystopian, 22 Nov. 2011
Orphaned twins Rhine and Rowan know exactly when they are going to die. They live in their parents home, sleeping in shifts and desperately trying to stay away from danger. Thanks to genetic testing and mistakes of older generations, when the scientists found a way to cure disease, they radically shortened life spans. Twenty five for males. Twenty for females. Desperate to keep the human race thriving, girls are stolen and sold into marriage with the sole purpose to reproduce. Rowan has always tried to keep his sister safe, but nothing could have prevented the day Rhine was stolen.

Sixteen year old Rhine, along with Nineteen year old Jenna, and thirteen year old Cecily, are bought by the formidable Housemaster Vaughn to be the wives of his son, Governor Linden. Linden's first wife, Rose, is suffering her last days, gripped by the disease that will claim everyone when their time is up.

Rhine vows to escape and somehow get back to her brother, but with locked windows, and stuck on one floor of the mansion, Rhine must earn Linden's trust if she is to break free from her cage.

The character of Rhine leapt off the page for me, her fears becoming mine and her entrapment making me feel claustrophobic. Her interaction with Gabriel, an attendant in the mansion, brings the small bit of light into her world of darkness.

A new dystopian series, Wither is sure to be an absolute hit. With shocking content and disturbing view of the future, the author pushes the limit yet also keeps the characters and events startling real. I for one cannot wait for the sequel.

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