31 March 2013

Bunnies Gone Wild!

Happy Easter everybody! If you're in need of a break from eating chocolate, watching kids movies and the excess of family dinners which seem to happen at Easter then how about you take the chance to catch up with that book you've been meaning to read but is currently collecting dust on your bookshelf!

For me it's The Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire/hunter series by J. R. Ward. I've signed up to the reading challenge on Goodreads in the SOS: Serious Overload of Series reading group. This challenge is to read the series starting with Dark Lover before the next instalment Lover at Last is released later this year!

If this fails I'm going to make like the bad bunny and go find the wine!


Author Love

We all have our own favourite go to authors. Those who can be trusted to also produce an enjoyable read. Then there are those authors who we can guarantee will write an awesome book. That extra special, change your life read. These are all well and good but then there are the type of authors who take their reader relationship to then next level. By this I mean those authors who take time to interact with their readers, those who genuinely care about their readers. After all it is us readers who support the industry and therefore them.

I think we should celebrate those authors who go the extra mile. The Cassie Clare's, Richelle Mead's and Jennifer L Armentrout's of the world. These lovely ladies and others like them, keep in regular contact with readers on Twitter, Facebook, their blogs and websites. They offer special book tours, 100s of book extras and awesome giveaways. These ladies put up with a lot of negativity from disgruntled readers (how dare you kill off so and so?! Or, why did the heroine end up with guy x instead of guy y? The actor cast in the movie adaptation of your books is far too unattractive to play xxxx, etc) yet they still make the effort to update readers on book/movie news and answer our many thousands of questions and comments, when they genuinely do not have to do this.

Rather than any negativity or hating (I really dislike that phrase) I think we should say thank you to these authors for not only providing such amazing characters but also for investing in and appreciating readers!!

Over the next few weeks on Zili in the Sky I'm going to be running individual posts on some of these outstanding authors. I'll be remembering previous releases, looking forward to their next creations and generally worshipping their awesomeness! In the meantime you can check them out here:

Jennifer L Armentrout/J Lynn
Cassandra 'Cassie' Clare
Richelle Mead

30 March 2013

Clockwork Princess A Tear Stained Review

What they say: If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose. Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment. Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the third and final instalment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.
  • Currently available as a Paperback (552 pages) and e-book format.
What I say: I eventually received my copy of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Princess (Amazon messed up my order, or ran out of stock)! As the final book in The Infernal Devices trilogy I was expecting an emotional journey and boy did Cassie deliver!
The delay in receiving the book, meant that it was impossible to avoid spoilers (thank you Twitter), so I did exactly what Cassie had advised her readers not to do and turned straight to the family tree in the back of the book. Now even if the plot has already been spoilt for you, I wouldn't recommend this because I still found out several things that I should have actually read in the book about first.

Now back to the book. I'm still going to avoid spoilers as much as possible if I can. The plot picks up with Tessa and Jem being engaged and Will trying to come to turns with this. Jem is still oblivious to Will's turmoil and Tessa hates the idea of hurting anybody. What I have most enjoyed about the entire TID series is how well the love story is portrayed. Generally with love stories, one of the characters is either a 'lesser' love a la Jacob Black or a simple case of unrequited love. In these cases it is usually glaring obvious who the heroine will pick, but with Jem and Will I really had no idea which way Tessa's heart would finally settle. My allegiances to either boy also kept changing. In Clockwork Angel I was very much pro Will, then after Clockwork Prince I found myself rooting for Jem. The ending may surprise and even annoy some, but I was really happy how Cassie finished the series.

As in previous TID books, both the Shadowhunter world and Victorian England are so clearly described in Clockwork Princess that I can picture the weapons, marks and gear. I can almost see the carriages and big fancy Victorian dress. As a Londoner it's wonderful to see the effort put into describing the past of my beloved city and Cassie really does London proud. Another element which really makes the narrative so strong is the use of all of the characters. Clockwork Princess is not just about Tessa, Jem and Will, it is a story where all of the characters are important. I liked How Cecily's introduction allowed the reader to discover more about Will, but also about Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood. We finally discover exactly what Tessa Gray is, the Magisters motives and whether or not Jem can be saved. As ever Magnus was a rock star, he has some fantastic and well timed lines and aides Tessa with her immortality.

This is a YA series, so the naughty bits are minimum (one event was shocking, mainly because it was unexpected). I devoured Clockwork Princess in a few hours (most of which were spent in either happy or sad tears). The epilogue? Well don't read it without a whole box of tissues and make sure (unless you consider puffy eyes a good look) that you're not off out anywhere. The final sentences really made the series for me and like all good things in life, Cassie left her readers wanting more!

A Sky FULL of Stars!

My fav non-spoilers quotes:
  • Will, who loved not wisely but entirely and with everything he had.
  • She couldn't tear her gaze away from him. She had always thought Jem was beautiful. He was no less beautiful to her now.
  • One does not question miracles, or complain that they are not constructed perfectly to one's liking.
  • You look like Church before he bites someone.

29 March 2013

Vanguard of Hope: Sapphire Brigade Book 1 by Kathy Steinemann Review

What they say (description): Lisetville, 1890 - Murders are committed; homes are burned; family secrets are buried; an unexpected romance complicates lives. Amid the mystery and violence, a vigilante brigade emerges to administer justice. Flowing through the intrigue and drama is a dark undercurrent that will touch your heart as you empathise with the victims.

What I say: I was given a copy for review purposes. Vanguard of Hope is quite different from the vast amount of other historical fiction books out there, but in a good way. A series of diary entries, poems, newspaper articles describe the rather harrowing 19th century life of Hope Bartholomew.

Now first off I should point out that I do not often enjoy diary style books because they tend to be whinny and melodramatic. However, once I had read past the first few of Hope's entries and with the exception of the the obvious 'Dear Diary' I had almost forgotten I was reading Hope's diaries and became engrossed in the story.

The book covers some extremely sensitive issues including child abuse, paedophilia, murder and racism. Kathy Steinemann does a great job analysing the lasting effects of abuse and how far retribution and vengeance should go. As a victim of child abuse, Hope suffers from Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal and degenerative medical condition. Her former abuse has had a lasting effect on her life and how she views the world. Distant from her much older husband Peter, it takes many years before she wants to have children. The Sapphire Brigade provide a wealth of material for debate. Defending the innocent by such extreme methods they are open to criticism from anti-vigilante groups, but I like the spirit of the group and what they stand for.

The book isn't all doom and gloom, some of Hope's descriptions and inner thoughts are really funny. When she finds the naughty manuscript it made me laugh and think of all the women (and men) out there who are reading FSOG and the Crossfire books on their Kindles, enjoying the smut on their way to work.

I would like to read more about the other characters from the book including Owen, Paul, Phoebe and the twins. In particular many of Owen's secrets need telling (I won't go into to detail as I don't want to spoil the plot). Vanguard of Hope wasn't just Hope's story and Steinemann does a really good job of using her diary to give the other character's a voice.

For a story set in the 1800s, it is extremely depressing that in this supposedly modern and progressive society we still see similar issues of racism and paedophilia today. Vanguard of Hope: Sapphire Brigade is extremely thought provoking and most definitely worth a read. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable by the content, but then I don't believe we should ever feel comfortable facing such harrowing truths.

4 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • I felt the bile of guilt fill my throat. I had provided the authorities with the information they needed to arrest an innocent man, a good man.
  • I get that reaction wherever we go. They look at me and wonder how such an old coot could snag a stunning beauty like Mama. I'll give you a hint. It's all below the waist, my dear.
  • Some days when I have problems reconciling Brigade activities with my beliefs, I think of the legal system and its executions. Is the Family doing anything so different? Brigade Retributions are acts of justice, especially important in those states where they don't have capital punishment. The Retributions instill fear in wrongdoers and help to prevent evil acts of deprivation or murder.

28 March 2013

Mixed Messages

I recently received an email asking me to classify my blog more in terms of genre and target audience. The sender went on to say that she enjoys my colloquial reviews and wit, but is often confused as to my target audience and who should read my blog.

Well I suppose this is a fair question because I do review and blog about many different types of books and am fairly open about my interest in adult, teen and children's literature. The truth is that I read and write about what I enjoy. My favourite books include classics such as Wuthering Heights, pretty much anything written by Shakespeare and Robert Frost's poetry. It also includes a lot of historical novels both fiction and non-fiction, particularly anything to do with ancient Rome and Tudor England. I also love children's fiction ranging from Room 13, to Harry Potter or Five Children and It to The Hobbit. In recent years my main love has been fantasy, distopian fiction and sci-fi (often YA) so you're very likely to read me waxing lyrical about Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Tolkien, Richelle Mead, Amanda Hocking and Jennifer L Armentrout. I'm also not above a bit of smut so look out for that too.

Let me put all this into context. I recently gained a Masters degree in English and English Literature. My dissertation was primarily on Paradise Lost, The Bible, Lord of the Flies, The Coral Island and The Hunger Games Trilogy. Quite a mixture I'm sure you'd agree, but the examiners appreciated the different take I provided by analysing the intertexual relationships between these books. When it comes down to it, I believe that people should focus on what they enjoy and that's very much what I intend to do. I called my blog Zili in the Sky because I often feel like I live with my head in the clouds, but I think investing in literature is a wonderful way to spend your time.

26 March 2013

Tempting the Best Man by J Lynn - Review

What they say: Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother's best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can't stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother's wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they're forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of "accidents" as the family tries to prove their "spark" can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don't strangle each other first…

What I say: Now I know why I always wanted an older brother... they have super hot best friends! Two words: Chase Gamble!

As previously mentioned I'm a big fan of Jennifer L Armentrout/J Lynn, yet somehow until now I hadn't read any of her Gamble Brothers books. I decided to rectify this and read book 1, Tempting the Best Man over the weekend. In summary Maddie Daniels is in love with her older brother's best friend Chase Gamble, who is a womaniser with a boat load of issues and beautiful blue eyes. After a heartbreaking and embarrassing incident a few years ago, Maddie believes that all she will ever be to Chase is Mitch's little sister. A wedding, a vineyard, bench dancing, and a heart shaped bed may yet prove her wrong.

I should start by saying I could easily imagine this being made into a film, because it has all the classic elements of a rom-com, but with a darker twist. Chase has more issues than the average rom-com male. Now a lot of his problems are of his own doing, but it all makes for a sexy and intriguing, yet infuriating male lead. Maddie is sweet, smart and beautiful. J Lynn provides a witty character, who suffers through a series of unfortunate, yet hilarious events. Mishaps aside, Maddie puts up with a lot from Chase and forgives him easily. I would personally have asked why he left the cabin.

Tempting the Best Man is fairly short, but I really enjoyed following the story as Maddie and Chase struggle to get their act together. I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as Wait for You, but I think that Avery and Cam's story in Wait for You is unique and special in a way that Tempting the Best Man doesn't quite match. That said I still enjoyed the book and Chase is extremely swoon worthy, perhaps if I had read Tempting the Best Man first then it would be harder to compare the two.

4 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • Oh, hell to the no, he did not just storm out of there like a drama queen. She was going to find him and then castrate him.
  • You drive me insane, absolutely freaking insane. Do you know that? I bet you do.
  • You've sat through dinner like someone kicked your puppy into traffic, burned down all three of your bars, then pissed in your face and shoved a fat one up-!

25 March 2013

Sex, Doug, and a Rocky Road by Michele Bardsley - Review

What they say (Blurb & info): Ellie Johnson is a housewife and mother scorned. Hiring a private detective to check up on her husband Stan’s late nights verifies her long-held suspicions of his outside activities. Her name is Rose. She’s blonde, big-boobed, and Australian. Ellie is almost devastated by her husband’s betrayal. Almost. As she deals with the fallout of her husband’s affair, she begins to realize that she wasn’t happy, either. In fact, she hadn’t been happy in a long time, and the further she gets away from her marriage, the more she realizes how oppressed she’d felt in the housewife role she’d slipped into over the years.

Throw in Ellie’s melodramatic, hypochondriac, alcoholic mother, revelations about her dead father’s lascivious past, a comedy club faux pas, a yoga date gone wrong, the incident where “The Other Woman Almost Killed My Son with Tiny Shrimp,” a very scary divorce attorney, and—well, and you have one messed-up former housewife. And then there’s Doug. Doug is her ex-boyfriend—the man she dated before Stan “Whore-man” Johnson. Doug is a cop these days, older, but with the same muscles and chocolate-brown eyes she remembers from their college days. He’s also made it abundantly clear he’d like to take up with Ellie where they left off more than fifteen years ago.

Ellie, however, is trying to go from married to unmarried, and her journey is messy, chaotic, and fraught with ice cream and booze. A lot of booze. Thank goodness for her best friend, Cindy, who stands by Ellie through thick, thin, and many cartons of Rocky Road ice cream. Sometimes life just falls apart. And sometimes life is sex, Doug, and a rocky road.

What I say: Michele Bardsley's contemporary romance serves as a relationship guide. The protagonist Ellie Johnson receives a life lesson on passion, marriage, family and the consequences of doing things for the wrong reasons.

Ellie has been with Stan for 16 years. She married him after previous boyfriend Doug 'a horny frat boy' (his words not mine) wanted them to see other people. Ellie has recently discovered Stan's affair and faces a custody battle over their son. Ellie thought she was happy as a housewife with boring, controlling Stan until he trades her in for a younger model.

The book is essentially Ellie coming to terms with her impending divorce and reassessing her marriage. A telling moment is when Ellie realises that her only really sexy memory of her soon to be ex-husband actually occurred with Doug. Doug is back in her life and as sexy as ever. Less horny frat boy, more sexy cop. Along with Doug, her bestie Cindy, her alcoholic mother, her patient son Joey, a drag queen, a boat load of wine and buckets full of rocky road flavoured ice cream, Ellie overcomes her issues and looks for real love and happiness.

Cindy was hilarious, as all good best friends should be. The scene with the pervy yoga instructor had me in stitches. I also really enjoyed the scene where Doug presents her with an axe (I'll leave you to find out why). Doug isn't blame free, he represents the 'be careful what you wish for' lesson. I enjoyed the story, although there were many times when I found myself extremely frustrated with Ellie. She repeatedly considers taking Stan back, glosses over all of his bad points (and there are many) and consistently makes excuses for him. A few times she was in danger of becoming a pushover, but she turned it around and progressed massively.

3.5 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes: 
  • The old-boobs Pamela or the new-boobs Pamela?
  • That was a wine-cooler induced sexual mistake.
  • I'll tuck you into my bed and kiss you good night. Or? I'll tuck us both into bed and kiss you good morning.

Confessions of a waylaid blogger!

I decided to start the week with a confession... In which I admit that I completely ignored my Something for the Weekend reads (Never Google Heartbreak and Morganville Vampires book 1 - Glass Houses)!

I am definitely going to read both of these books asap, but this weekend I was sent Michele Bardsley's contemporary romance Sex, Doug, and a Rocky Road (review coming soon). I have seen lots of authors and bloggers tweeting about Michele Bardsley and so I decided to read this first. The good news is that the book is currently free for download on the Amazon Kindlestore!

I think by now it's pretty obvious that I'm a huge Fan of Jennifer L Armentrout/J Lynn in both her YA and more naughty personas. Jennifer posted a teaser from her new Gamble brother’s novel last week, so I decided that it was about time I started reading the series, starting with Maddie and Chase's story in Tempting the Best Man (again review to follow).

My other confession or more of a continuation of my previous rant, is that I still haven’t read Cassie Clare's Clockwork Princess, because Amazon are still having stock issues and haven't delivered my copy!

22 March 2013

Something for the Weekend...!

No I'm not talking condoms (or at least I don't think I am)! I'm thinking more a long the lines of what swoon worthy book boyfriend I'm going to spend my weekend with and what books I'm planning on reading over the weekend!

I always aim to read something that's been around for ages but I've never read and something new or recently released!

For my Something for the Weekend this week I'm going to begin a YA vampire series that I've been meaning to read for a long time! The first book in the series was released in 2006, so it is definately about time I caught up! I'll be reading Glass Houses, Morganville Vampires Book 1 by Rachel Caine.

In the newly released category I'm going to read the contemporary romance Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia. With a limited release last year the book has just received a mass release on paperback and I found it today in my local bookstore!

Divergent's English Rose

It comes as no surprise that English actress Kate Winslet has been officially given a role in the Divergent movie!

After weeks of speculation and rumours Summit have confirmed that Kate will play the Erudite baddie, Jeanine Matthews. With Oscar winning Kate on board the movie adaptation of Veronica Roth's distopian YA series is amassing quite the cast.

Kate is exactly as I imagined Jeanine, and more importantly she is a an outstanding actress! I think Kate will be able to do the dark genius of the Erudite leader justice and I cannot wait to see her in action!

Hidden Marchwood Vampires Book One Shalini Boland - Review

What they say (Blurb & info): HIDDEN is a paranormal adventure that spans the centuries from modern London to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia. Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune, she inherits a house, she inherits a cellar full of danger. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

For each of them, life is finally starting. Little do they know it is closer to ending. Something lies buried which should have been forgotten. A Pandora's Box that was meant to stay shut. But Madison and Alexandre have never been any good at following the rules. They are about to find everything they've ever desired and everything that could destroy them. Falling in love has never been so dangerous.

What I say: As a big fan of anything vampire and history related this was right up my street. Like so many kids I was obsessed with Room 13 (where an evil vampire lives in a hidden room, in a creepy old hotel).

Hidden tells the duel stories of modern day British teenager Madison, and of Alexandre, a French teenager living in the 1800s. Shalini cleverly weaves both stories together until Maddy and Alex eventually meet. Alex and his family leave France to hunt for a lost Turkish village where they face a tragedy which spans the years and miles into modern England. Having spent years living in foster care, Maddy and her brother Ben inherit the huge Marchwood estate (and £61 million). Whilst Ben goes to school, the now rich Maddy investigates the house, finding a hidden door in the basement which holds many dark secrets. I really enjoyed Shalini's twist on the vampire legend (coming from Turkey not Transylvania) and her detailed descriptions of both nineteenth century and modern life.  There were times when I wanted the narrative to get a move on so Maddy and Alex could meet.

Maddy is sassy and forward, but at times she is immature and bratty. Shalini does however manage to make her likeable and interesting. Maddy is totally different from the reserved ladylike girls from Alex's time, but they find each other fascinating and so the story works. The romance is kept to kissing and cuddling, to the point where I felt that we had another Meyer on our hands. I may be cynical but I find it hard to believe that beautiful teenagers living together in modern times away from the constraints of courtly love, with no adult supervision or rules would stick to cuddling. I suppose that the point though is that in Alex's time he causes a scandal from just kissing a girl.

My Aunt lived in a huge ancient house complete with hidden rooms, stairs, trapdoors and like in Hidden; a secret door in the basement. I've never forgotten that secret door and Hidden had me hooked from the off (I never did manage to open the door)! Hidden is the first in a trilogy, with the next instalment Thicker Than Blood already released.

4 Stars in My Sky!

21 March 2013

Missing Books and Spoilers!

I go out of my way to make sure that I don't post any spoilers in my reviews, blog or on Twitter, so it really bugs me when others don't do the same!

I've been waiting for three days for my pre-order of Cassandra Clare's concluding part of The Infernal Devices trilogy Clockwork Princess to arrive. Even though I placed my order months ago, apparently Amazon didn't have enough stock to meet the demand (there goes my first edition). Annoying? Yes, but not the end of the world. 

I've been avoiding any mentions of the book online in a desperate attempt to avoid spoilers. Unfortunately several people decided to reveal massive untagged spoilers on both Twitter, goodreads and Facebook. I now know how the series ends without having even received, yet alone read the book! Let's please try to keep the spoilers to a minimum (at least until the book, movie etc has been released for a while)!

I'll post my review of Clare's final instalment when it has arrived!

Storm Clouds in my Sky!

Theresa Weir - The Girl with the Cat Tattoo Review

What they say (Blurb & info): When a matchmaking cat takes it upon himself to find his young mistress a new mate, he accidentally stirs up memories better left forgotten. Melody's husband was murdered by what seemed a random act of violence. Two years later, the killer hasn't been caught, and Melody is coping in unhealthy ways. During the day she's a mild-mannered children's librarian, but at night she's a party girl, hanging out in bars, drinking with new friends, and often bringing home strange men. Although acquaintances have tried to keep in touch, Melody has cut herself off from most of the people in her old life. Max, her eccentric cat, doesn't approve of her new friends, he's tired of the parade of losers, and he finally takes it upon himself to find Melody a new man.
  • A short read at 30,000 words (e-book).
What I say: Told from the POVs of a matchmaking cat called Max, his owner Melody and new friend Joe, The Girl with the Cat Tattoo is a quirky and cute read with a kick!

Widowed children's librarian Melody has been drowning her sorrows with booze and a string of one night stands. Her Cat, Max takes it upon himself to find her a new mate and restore the previously happy life they had before David was murdered. Max has a fairly unique approach to finding Melody's mate and a list of criteria which include 'Nice voice. Nice hands. Not a cop'. The new mate must fit in with Max and his needs.

Melody is a nice, but slightly loopy character (she answers her door dressed as Pippi Longstocking). Heartbroken and lonely, Melody has been treading water, clinging on to David's memory. Joe is a nice guy with secrets that Melody may not be able to move past.

The best sections are without a doubt the ones from Max's POV. Theresa does a great job of using Max to lighten the mood, this Crime-Romance combo is really sad in places and Max helps to tell quite a poignant story.

At 30,000 words it's a short read, but absolutely hilarious in places. I'm generally not a cat person, but if I could find myself a Max then maybe I could be persuaded.

4 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes: 
  • Max had been a cat as long as he could remember, but he was pretty sure he'd been a rock star in one of his previous lives. He just had that kind of cool about him.
  • Homeless? Melody had a home, so maybe a homeless man would be a good mate.
  • Did Max need a kitty shrink?

19 March 2013

Alice Clayton's Wallbanger Review

What they say (blurb & info): Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a Kitchen Aid mixer to die for, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O. Adding insult to O-less, she also has an oversexed neighbour with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Every moan, spank, and—was that a meow?—punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has—yep, you guessed it—no O. Enter Simon Parker. When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbour. Their late-night hallway encounter has…well…mixed results. Because with walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick. A delicious mix of silly and steamy, this is an irresistible tale of exasperation at first sight.

  • Print (384 pages) and e-book edition

What I say: Sexually frustrated and uninspired Caroline Reynold's new flat comes with very thin walls and an amorous next door neighbour Simon 'Wallbanger' Parker. Whilst Caroline has her horny cat Clive, Wallbanger has a harem of women who regularly interrupt Caroline's sleep and remind her of her missing O(rgasm). Caroline refers to Wallbanger's 'visitors' as Spanx, Purina and Giggler (I'll let you discover why). Caroline eventually snaps, leading to one of the funniest confrontations I've read in ages (it involves a pink nightie, a bed sheet and the line 'He Was Still Hard')!

Wallbanger had me in stitches, with so many laugh out loud moments that I wouldn't recommend reading it in the quiet carriage on a train! The wait to see if Wallbanger could help Caroline regain her O and the explanation as to how she lost it in the first place was hilarious. Alice Clayton does a great job of incorporating smut and innuendo with some really sweet and cute moments. Wallbanger and Caroline's friends/colleagues provide some great one liners, providing their own chat show worthy complications.

I liked Caroline and Wallbanger's developing friendship, their 'food-play' and Clive's amorous pursuit of Purina. Manwhoring aside, I think we could all do with our own Wallbanger with or without the O!

Wallbanger gets a handful of Stars!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbour packing to make that happen?
  • Blue eyes. Blue. Beautifully blue. Then I saw red as I recognised who belonged to the blue. 'Fucking Wallbanger'.
  • An O has been lost, and I'm a sucker for a challenge.

Review of Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) by Abigail Gibbs

Over the weekend I finally got round to reading several books which fall into the 'I should read but haven't got round to it yet' category. One of which was Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) by Abigail Gibbs.

What they say (Blurb & Info): The addictive, enthralling debut by online sensation Abigail Gibbs. The sexiest romance you’ll read this year. One moment can change your life forever… For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries. Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn. Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price.
  • Available in print (560 pages) or as an e-book.
What I say: With the tag line 'The Sexiest Romance You'll Read This Year' I wasn't entirely sure what to make of The Dark Heroine. Although there are sex scenes, I wouldn't class it as sexy, nor would I group it as a NA novel. It's definitely not an adult book but with the semi-domestic abuse, attempted rape, underage drinking and teenage sex it doesn't totally fit as a normal YA novel either. For the sake of arguing I'm going to class the book as a Fantasy YA novel and leave it as that!

The book begins with Violet Lee (who is both human and a teenager) essentially being kidnapped by Vampire Prince Kasper Varns after witnessing a brutal mass murder by a group of strange, beautiful and obviously not human young men. These young men are Vampires in the midst of a war with a group of hunters. Of the title, I won't say too much as I don't want to give the plot away but the Heroines form part of an inter dimensional prophecy of which involves both Violet and Kasper. Told from the POVs of Violet and Kasper, the imprisoned Violet must allow herself to 'turn' and become a vampire to leave captivity (said captivity is a huge mansion, full of handsome, rich vampire men who seem to find Violet irresistible). Having initially only witnessed the vampires feeding, killing and womanising, she finds the idea of becoming a vampire abhorrent!

The royal family (the Varns) belong in a strange middle section of vampires as they are not fully evil a la the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' non souled type vampires, but then again they are definitely not vegetarians like the 'Twilight' Cullens. The Varns tread a very fine line between good and evil. For most of the book Kasper is horrible, selfish and spiteful and I was left wondering if his actions were actually justifiable. At times I found Violet really frustrating because she allows both Kasper and Fabian (a vampire Earl) to manipulate and use her. Kasper in particular is very close to being guilty of domestically and verbally abusing Violet. However, Gibbs does repeatedly address the idea that these vampires are dark and powerful. They are not fluffy, sparkly, toothless vampires. For the most part I did find myself liking Violet, Kasper and Fabian (I personally would have made both Kasper and Fabian suffer a lot more for their actions)!

I can honestly say that this book has left me confused. It'll take at least another read to decide whether or not I really enjoyed it or really didn't!? There were some really funny parts, including sabotaged blood and destroyed condoms...! Eventually Violet transforms into a spunky, courageous character who doesn't want to be used by everybody whether that be for blood, sex, power or status. The story continues in the next book Autumn Rose (out in August 2013).

16 March 2013

Jane Lovering - Please Don't Stop The Music Review

What they say (Blurb and info)...
How much can you hide?
Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail - until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts.
But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse?
And the curiosity is mutual - which means that her own secret is no longer safe...

  • Format: Available in print (284 pages) and as an e-book

  • What I say... As the winner of the 2012 Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Novel of the Year Award I was expecting a great read and was not disappointed! I'm a sucker for a swoon worthy bad boy in tight jeans!

    Jemima and Ben's story is sweet, sad, funny and at times heartbreaking! The story begins with struggling jewellery designer Jemima having a really bad day. A series of unfortunate events lead her to the withdrawn and also secretive former rock god Ben. Jemima is secretive and beautiful, with bucket loads of wit and the most difficult of pasts.

    Please Don't Stop the Music is full of twists and turns which I wont ruin, but I can honestly say that I did not expect Ben's story to take the turn it did. Ben's story was so heartbreaking and well written that I cannot believe I missed Jane's clues and subtle hints as to his secret. Jemima's story was also really sad and unexpected. So many romances are obvious and overdone these days and I loved how unpredictable the plot was.

    Jem's friends Jason and Rosie were hilarious and engaging (Jason gets the best lines). Unlike with most romances I cared about the other characters and wanted a HEA for them all. I wasn't convinced by the bitchy Saskia until near the end when her motives are explained!

    There were times when I was beyond frustrated with Jemima's constant running or Ben's standoffishness, but altogether a great read!

    My fav non-spoilery quotes:

    • You know you're in for a bad day when the Devil eats your last HobNob.
    • if Jason says anything about ice cubes, blank him. Or you can hit him if you like.
    • I don't usually like to stop women staring at my groin, but... you're a bit intense, I'm starting to worry.
    • He's so skinny, I mean, it'd be like... I dunno, shagging a pogo stick or something.
    4 Shiny Stars in my Sky

    Currently Reading - The Dark Heroine

    Currently Reading...

    I'm  rather late on the bandwagon with this one but after buying Abigail Gibbs' Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) in my local supermarket for the unbelievable price of £1.00 I decided that I really should read the former Wattpad sensation and see if it really is worth the hype!

    Abigail Gibbs has quite a lot to live up to with all the media coverage she has received and with the tag line 'The Sexiest Romance You'll Read This Year' I have high hopes for this book...!

    15 March 2013

    Four - 18 Going on 28

    A quick note on the casting of Tobias 'Four' Eaton in the Divergent movie!

    Veronica Roth's Divergent is one of my favourite YA series around at the moment. I've been obsessively following the movie details, and this week so far we've been spoilt! So far we've been given Caleb, Tori, Christina, Eric and now FOUR!! (check out Deadline for more details)!

    Now I'm a big fan of uber sexy Theo James (namely coz he was a scandalous hottie in Downton Abbey) but at 28 he's ten years older than Four and I wonder if he'll look too old compared to Shailene Woodley as 16 year old Tris?! Now Shailene is a young looking 21 so this remains to be seen but in a lot of pics I've seen of Theo he doesn't look 28 and can pass as younger so lets wait and see!!

    I'm seeing this development as positive because we know Theo can act and he does seem to embody Four rather than many of the teenage pretty boys who reportedly also auditioned for the role! 

    So I say congrats Theo, good luck & now go kick some Erudite butt!!

    7 March 2013

    Wait for You by J Lynn Review

    What they say (Info & Blurb): 
    Some things are worth waiting for…
    Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.
    Some things are worth experiencing…
    Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.
    Some things should never be kept quiet…
    But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?
    And some things are worth fighting for…

    What I say: Warning!!! Wait for You by J Lynn will make you crave eggs, turtles, rainstorms and super hot, former manwhores called Cam. Oh Avery, you lucky gal!

    Published under her naughtier adult pen name J Lynn, Jennifer L Armentrout tackles some DARK issues in Wait for You. I can list a plethora of reasons why I loved this book (yes most of them are Cam related), but I think for me it's the ease in which she handles these truly important issues that are the real selling points. J Lynn handles these issues (no spoilers here, I'll let you discover them for yourself) whilst managing to make sure that she never sounds preachy and most importantly, although there is angst the story is very touching and carefully handled! 

    The main character Avery is a great creation because she's really likeable (for the most part, there were times when I wanted to hit her for being so obtuse). The reader really gets sense of her past and present difficulties. I really wanted her to overcome her problems and fulfil her potential. Yes she's a shy (or repressed) natural beauty, but she's also funny and a trier (even if she does have to talk herself into action)!! She's also clumsy and as unfortunate as hell, with no brain to mouth filter! 

    The many layered Cam came with an impressive knowledge of astrology, cooking and mad bedroom skills! But more importantly Cam is so much more than another hot book boyfriend. He has his own demons and a past he has to face and overcome. I didn't think Jen could create a more appealing man since Daemon Black or since the very clever person managed to find a giff of Godfrey 'Magnus' Gao shirtless in the rain, but the very clever J Lynn has given the world 6' 3" of man crumpet known as Cameron Hamilton!

    Wait for You is also really funny with some great characters. Avery's friends Jacob and Brit were a hoot!
    My fav non-spoilery quotes:
    • Easy for you to say. You're the one who got plowed. I was doing the plowing.
    • The moment those words came out of my mouth I wanted to kick myself in the boob.
    • I would be clapping like a seal right now if I weren't so f**king hung over.
    • Oh, honey, if he swung batter-batter for my team, I'd be all over that in a heartbeat.
    If I had any stars to give, then there'd be a whole sky full of them!!

    1 March 2013

    Never sit on a Kindle!!

    Yesterday I learnt that my trusted Kindle may be many things, but squish-proof it is not! I had intended on my first post being a quirky welcome to my new blog, where I would explain my love of reading. I would have mentioned how I like the awesomeness of New Adult books, the grown-up aspects of adult fiction (I'm most definitely not above smut), my almost criminal obsession with YA books and a nod to the classics, poetry, movie and film adaptations and everything in between!
    But then last night after reading Please Don't Stop the Music, by Jane Lovering which is the current number 1 free download on the UK Kindlestore (more on that soon) I managed to sit on my Kindle. Needless to say there is now a huge crack in the corner and I'm an E-reader down! On the upside I have my not-so-shiny new blog to distract me and it also means I get to buy the new Kindle Fire!
    As a sort of welcome, I should firstly say Hello; so Hello! I read a LOT, I've just completed an English Masters Degree which covered everything from Sophocles, Bronte and Hardy to Clare, Meade and Collins (yes I did manage to work The Hunger Games into my dissertation alongside Milton). I'm always recommending books to my friends, writing online reviews and generally obsessing about the newest releases and stalking my favourite book blogs, so I figured it was about time I started my own blog. Zili in the Sky is the result (yes I am Zili). The site is very basic at the moment, I'm busy updating the templates and writing up my reviews so please keep checking for improvements! Here's hoping I don't sit on my new Kindle or drop it in the bath! Zili x
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