Posts Tagged ‘Supernatural’

Carnegie and Greenaway: In Darkness

Nick Lake

in darknessListen. You’re the voices in the dark so the world can’t all be gone. There must be people left.
I’m going to tell you how I got here and how I got this bullet in my arm. I’m going to tell you about my sister who was taken from me by the gangsters.
Maybe, maybe if I tell you my story then you’ll understand me better and the things I’ve done. Maybe you’ll forgive me…. Maybe she will.
Alone and in darkness, trapped in the rubble after the Hatian earthquake, one terrified teenager holds on to life.

Told in the voices of a black slave from Haiti’s past and a gangster teenager from Haiti’s near past, ‘In Darkness’ walks us through two of the most important parts of Haiti’s history, in a very personal way. We have the story of Toussaint, an illiterate slave who becomes literate during a Voudon ceremony and then leads the slaves to their freedom. We also follow Shorty, a teenager who has grown up in the slums. The story starts in Shorty’s voice, just after the Haitian earthquake that destroyed the country. Shorty was in hospital with a gunshot wound and is now trapped under the rubble. In alternating chapters they tell their story until we get to the point where their stories combine.

I will hold my hands up and say that I wasn’t sure about ‘In Darkness’. In spite of some absolutely fantastic reviews I just didn’t know what to expect from it. It’s one of those books that seem very ‘worthy’ (and yes it is) and on the hole that tends to put me off (bad librarian!). I’ve read in other books that it’s not a book that you enjoy and that is completely right. It is however a book that evokes a lot of emotion. Incredibly dark, sometimes disturbing the book does include a lot of violence. But the story is about very violent places and times and is therefore fitting and never feels gratuitous. Because of this some librarians have questioned its place on the shortlist as they have doubts about giving the book to Year 7’s to read. Whilst I understand their doubts I don’t think that this book could have been written any other way, yet the writing and the characterisation means that it deserves its place. I think that children of their age tend to self censor when it comes to their reading and will either skirt over the bits they can’t cope with or leave the book unread. Despite the darkness present in the book it does end with a glimmer of hope.

As said above I can’t say that I enjoyed ‘In Darkness’, it’s not that type of book, but I do feel that I gained something in reading it. I know very little about Haiti and its history and the historian in me was interested in learning about its past. A lack of knowledge also meant that I could enjoy the story instead of thinking about how accurate it was. This is a book that also concentrates on relationships between people, between Mother and Son, Father and Son, between gang member and between siblings. This gives the book a human element that is one of its greatest strengths. It makes the focus of the book become the human cost of the events concentrating on the injustices of the times.

Another interesting factor of the book is the way it deals with the Voodoo practices of the characters. There is a such a matter of factness about it the it is obvious that this is just the beliefs of the characters. Whether there is any truth to the power of voodoo is left to the reader.

Although this is an incredibly strong book I’m not sure that it is likely to win Carnegie. I think that it probably lacks the wider appeal that the winner should have.

Verdict: Dark, violent and sometimes unsettling but still a very interesting read.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Historical, Supernatural
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: Debut Author
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Lucifer Blog Tour: To Publish Is To Bleed

Yesterday we got to know awesome debut author Annabell Cadiz ( read the interview here). Today we ask that you sit back and relax with a cup of tea while Annabell shares the wisdom she gained during her journey to self publication.

luciferHave you ever wondered what could be hiding in the shadows?
Well, for eighteen-year-old Zahara Faraday, she doesn’t have to wonder. You see she comes from a lineage of Light Witches, those who have chosen to help protect and serve between the supernatural world and the human world. The only problem is Zahara, like her father Solomon, is as human as a human being can be whereas her mother, Mia, and her Aunt Catalina, were born as Light Witches. As a family they hunt down rogue supernaturals—creatures who harm humans or who have committed an act against their kingdom.
Zahara’s hunting skills are usually kept dormant since her parents would prefer she live life as a normal human girl without knowledge of the supernatural world. She plans on doing just that—except when she finds a couple being attacked by fairies, she has no choice but to step in. Before she can return to pretending to be blissfully ignorant, Zahara encounters a problem she isn’t the least equip to handle: Bryan Hamilton, the good looking new co-worker she has to help train. In a heartbeat, her best friend, Becca King, has set her up on a double date with herself and her new crush, Rekesh Saint-Louis, who happens to be the most powerful leader of the biggest Imago Coven in South Florida –supernatural creatures with the ability to control water . . . and suck out human souls.
Zahara has no time to focus on how she’s going to explain her double date with her best friend and the enemy they have a tentative truce with to her parents because soon one of the members of Mia and Catalina’s coven is found murdered with a strange tattoo of a snake with wings carved into his arm.
Zahara is then thrown into a whirlwind battle with an angel determined to have revenge against God, an Imago coven she doesn’t think they should trust, and slew of dream-eating fairies and powerful Nephilims, hybrid children of angels and humans, more than happy to rip her to shreds.
Normal just got a deadlier definition.

To Publish is To Bleed!
Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” while that is true for writing, the same could be said for publishing. Or well, it FEELS like sitting down and bleeding all your sanity out!
My journey to self-publishing was, thankfully, less like bleeding out my sanity and more like beating my head against a wall. I knew the basics about self-publishing but I had never ACTUALLY applied them since I had yet to publish a book, so the journey was filled with both HIALRIOUS and stupid mistakes, and was a DEFINITE learning experience.

My journey to publishing began when I was sixteen years old. I decided to write a book and in my naive mind, I thought that was all it would take. Write a book. Find someone who likes it enough to publish. Done.

Yeah, not so much.

Not only did I discover I needed an editor ASAP but I needed an entirely different book. I didn’t really focus on writing till years later when the FALLEN ANGELS SERIES kicked in, then SONS OF OLD TRILGY was born.
Through those years I learned how to be a better writer and how to create an ACTUAL plot with DEPTH, and I learned how to understand the ins and outs of publishing.

So here are some tips to up and coming authors to save you from making the same ridiculous (and comical) mistakes.

Tips to Self-Publishing

Editor Is Your Best Friend (Even When He/She Sounds Like the Enemy): Every great author needs a support team and one of the main players on your team is your editor. Your editor is a third set of EXPERIENCED eyes and will not only become your confidant, but a trusted friend. Do the research. Make sure the person you choose to work with has done work either as a freelance editor or established editor in the past. Ask for references, history, and pricing. Find someone you vibe with well. You can use sites like The Association of Authors’ Representative, Preditors & Editors, and Writer Beware to help you.

The Curse of the Ugly Cover: Now, we all know the first element that will attract a reader to your book is the cover. As much as we’d love the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to be true, in the publication world, it just doesn’t work, and frankly, an ugly cover can be an extreme turn off. Once that book is published, you’re going to have to live with that cover, so make sure it’s one you REALLY love. AND make sure to look over every detail of the cover before officially announcing it to the world. When my cover was officially done and I did a Cover Reveal Tour, none of the reviewers, my best friends, myself or even my cover designer, Kim (from Hot Damn Designs) realized that the word TRILOGY was spelled TRIOLOGY! Thankfully, it was an easy mistake to fix and it was caught before the book was published *Whew* Some designers you may want to check out Hot Damn Designs, Dara England and Carol Green, WordSuger Designs, and Graphic Fantastic.

Converting From Hell: Formatting a book is HARD work, at least for those of us who do not speak computer beyond the basics. I was blessed that my best friend’s husband knows how to format Word Doc into the various ebook formats. But I know it won’t be so easy for everyone, so I suggest learning exactly what formats you want to convert your book into and what formats work for which site (i.e. Epub for Barnes and Noble, Epub for Amazon). Also, DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR WORD DOC DIRECTLY! Amazon and BN will tell you that you can just upload your book as Word Doc and they’ll convert it for you, which they will, BUT the conversion won’t come out so nice looking. Spaces will be off. Formatting will look weird. Paragraphs may not be indented probably. You don’t want to wind up with crappy formatted conversion because readers will get annoyed and will only be able to focus on the formatting instead of the story. Some great sites that can help you with conversion: Kinde Expert and Write Into Print.

Publish Here, Publish There, Publish Everywhere!: In case you were like me and didn’t know where the hex on Amazon and Barnes and Noble you’re supposed to go in order to publish your book, let me make it easier for you 😉

Amazon: No, you do not just go on your regular Amazon account to publish your book. Travel over to Kindle Direct Publishing. The steps will be explained for you and they are really simple. (Also, make sure in the section where it says “Contributors” that you put in YOUR NAME then click on the scroll bar and select AUTHOR or when you submit your book for publication on Amazon, it won’t go live. Yeah, I made that mistake. TWICE. *slaps forehead*) Amazon takes up to 12 hrs to publish your book in English and 48 hrs to publish your book in various other languages, so make sure to submit your book the day before your desired publication date! A great video that helps to explain Kindle Direct Publishing well is How to Upload Your Book on Amazon’s DTP (Kindle Marketplace). Also, once you finish publishing your book, head on over to Author Central and set up an author page for yourself 😉

Barnes and Noble: Again, you don’t head to your regular Barnes and Noble page that you use to buy books. Head on over to Pub It where the steps are explained to you the same way they are on Amazon. And again, remember in the Contributor section to do the same as with Amazon!! Barnes and Noble will give you a phone number you’ll need to call so they can check that your name and social security number are correct before they can send your book to be published live on their site. Barnes and Noble can take between 24 to 72 hrs to publish your book live so make sure to submit your book earlier than your desired publication date.
Other sites you may want to publish on: Smashwords (If you use Smashwords though, they will convert your book for you into various ebook versions). Kobo (in order to publish with them you will need to first attain an ISBN number).

Cover Tour, Launch Tour, Blog Tour? Speak English, Will You?!: There are a variety of ways an author can promote his or her book both before publication and after. It’s always great to set up interest for your book as early as possible and here are some ways you can do that.

Cover Reveal Tour: Before your book comes out, you can start getting word out there by setting up a virtual tour, otherwise known as a blog tour, that will reveal the cover of your book. The cover reveal will include not only the image of the cover, but also the synopsis of the book, mini bio about the author and links as to where the author can be located. It’s a fun and simple way to get people interested in your up and coming book. You will have to research out reviewers and request if they would like to sign up to participate in your cover reveal tour. This tour can go from one to two weeks long.

Launch Day Tour: This would be a blog tour that takes place on the day of publication for your book. You will have to set this up a few weeks in advance so every reviewer that chooses to participate can have all the info on time and so you can get a good amount of participating reviewers. Every post would include the cover of your book, the synopsis, author bio and links, and you may also want to include an excerpt (can be a scene from your book or half a chapter or a full on chapter) from your book. Or character profiles or a character interview. Something fun to go along with the promo of your book and give people an inside glimpse into what your book is either about or the characters.

Launch Tour: This would be like the Launch Day Tour but instead of just one day, this would last from one week to two weeks long.

Blog Tour: A blog tour is a lot more work and a lot of fun. It’s like setting up a book tour in the outside world except instead of stopping by bookstores for signings, you stop by reviewers blogs. This tour would include book reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways. This tour can last from two weeks to a month, so you will to set this tour up at least a month before the time period you want it to run. Usually between ten to twenty-five reviewers participate in the tour and they get to decide how they participate (i.e. review your book or conduct an interview with you or a character interview with a character from your book or give you a topic to write a post about to be featured on the reviewer’s site) With every type of post the cover image, the synopsis, the author bio and links will also be included.

Who the Author Are You??: A reader will become interested in not just your book but the author who created that book. You’re taken more seriously the better you establish yourself for your readership. Create a website or a blog or both (Weebly and WordPress are both FREE sites that allow you to set up a website for yourself). Write about your books, your writing journey, tips you may have, your everyday life. Let readers get to know you a bit so they can feel a connection with you. Create an account on a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. Twitter is a great place to network with fellow authors, editors, and publishers. Facebook lets you create an author page. Pinterest is a fun site to post images of stuff that can represent you and your book. Set up a Goodreads account. Goodreads is one of the biggest sites for readers and reviewers. It’s a great place to get know your readership and connect with them. They also have an Author’s Program you can sign up for. Having an online presence is a NECESSITY when you are publishing period, but even more so, when you’re self-publishing in your own work.

I hope these tips help you in along your publishing journey! =) You can also stop by TeamNerd Reviews to request having a blog tour set up for you *wink*

AnnabelleAnnabell Cadiz was born in the sweltering heat of South Florida. She was raised surrounded by Puerto Rican chefs and band of siblings that weren’t all related to her. A self-proclaimed nerd and book-a-holic (her room does hold much evidence to prove her claims are justifiable), she created TeamNerd Reviews to showcase her EXTREME love for novels where, along with her best friend, Bridget Strahin, she hosts book reviews, interviews, giveaways, Indie Shoutouts and much more. She also blog tour services for authors. She also had the pleasure of being published in three separate issue of Suspense Magazine. She also adores Cinnamon Teddy Grahams, has an addiction to Minute Maid Orange juice, and is a proud Jesus Freak. Lucifer is Annabell’s debut novel and the first book in the Sons of Old Trilogy.

You can find out more about Annabell and her work by visiting her website, Goodreads author page, Pinterest account, Facebook page,and her fabulous book blog. Alternatively, you can converse with her on twitter.

Lucifer, the first book in Annabell’s Son’s Of Old Trilogy, is available to buy now from Barnes and Noble, and

In honor of the two main female leads in LUCIFER, Zahara and Becca, Annabell created a fun swag pack for ONE very lucky winner!
Win a specially made makeup kit by E.L.F along with one DVD copy of the movie Sixteen Candles, a fuschia metallic manicure set, a Girl Power Superwoman wristband, a LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD silver necklace, a silver bracelet with handcuff & key charms, Honey Sweetheart lotion (that smells INCREDIBLE!), two toned lip bloom (that is SUPER cute!), and gray colored cheetah printed socks that are SOOOO adorables and an ecopy of LUCIFER!
ANNNND if that wasn’t enough,FIVE other lucky winners will win a FREE ecopy of LUCIFER!
TWICE a week on MONDAYS & FRIDAYS a new clue from LUCIFER will be posted up. Enter the new clue inside the Rafflecopter every time a new one is posted and get more chances to win!
Stop by the BLOG TOUR page(here) to enter!

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Carol Goodman

‘This is where all stories start, on the edge of a dark wood…’
Ever since moving to Fairwick to take up a teaching post at the local college, Callie has been having vivid, erotic dreams about a man made out of moonlight and shadows. Dreams she begins to fear as well as anticipate…
She learns that her home – a Victorian cottage at the edge of a wood she bought on a whim – is supposedly haunted. And then her new – and rather strange – colleagues tell her a local legend about an incubus demon with a human past who was enchanted by a fairy queen…

Should be noted that I obtained this book from Netgalley under the title of ‘The Demon Lover’ by Juliet Dark, a pen name of Carol Goodman.

Callie lost her parents at a very young age, sent to live with her cold distant Grandmother she finds solace in an ‘imaginary’ prince who tells her folktales at night. Fast forward a number of years, Callie is now a lecturer in folk law, she has an interview with a small university in the back of beyond. She knows the job could spell professional suicide yet she is drawn to the place, and then she finds the old house by the woods…..

Both the covers for this book are quite deceptive with both appearing to be trying to appeal to the YA market. In fact I bought it for the school library and quickly had to move it to the Sixth Form and Staff library. It is definitely a more adult book and is everything that you would expect from a paranormal romance novel.

This is a rare foray into books for adults for me, and despite the above I was aware that this was for adults when I picked it up. It did make a very welcome change and I have gone on to read the second book in the series since. It has everything that I love in a book. Supernatural and gothic themes, setting described so well that you can picture them and very strong believable characters. It was a book that reminded me strongly of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness and ‘The Witching Hour’ by Anne Rice and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed these books. Witchcraft, gothic houses and family secrets are all themes that run through each book.

The supernatural has been done to death in recent years. I liked that the mythology of it all was original in this book, something that is hard to do with the proliferation of books lately. I dearly love anything to do with the fey so their inclusion was very welcome.

Callie was a very strong central character, but this wasn’t to the expense of other characters in the book. As a reader you got to know them all. This was through Callie, as the book is told from her perspective, but she was on the whole quite perceptive and even when she wasn’t the plot strongly pointed out how you should feel about a character. There was a ‘twist’ at the end of the book that I found fairly obvious. But I did get the impression that this was done on purpose by the author; that the reader should know what was likely to happen, even if the main characters didn’t. There was also a second twist that I saw coming a mile off which wasn’t perhaps meant to be quite so obvious. I have a feeling that it was my hopelessly romantic side that wanted the result, rather than me actually being able to predict.

A very strong feature of this book is the setting. The town, the house, university buildings and the woods nearly become a character all of their own. They are described in such detail that it is almost cinematic. In many way the old house, with it’s history and eccentricities becomes a character outside of its description.

Overall I really did want to carry on reading and was quite disappointed when the book finished and quickly moved onto the next book. I can’t wait for the third to come out. It has also made me investigate the author further and I will be reading more of her other books. I now have a taste for books for ‘grown-ups’ which will make a nice change.

Verdict: Wonderful characters, amazing setting and great mythology. A really enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 480
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Josephine Angelini

Tasked with descending to the underworld and killing the Furies, Helen must endure hellish torture whenever she goes to sleep – she wanders around the various levels of hell with no idea how to complete her task, and she’s beginning to suffer from extreme exhaustion. Although she still trains with the Delos clan, Helen and Lucas are coming to terms with the fact that they cannot be together. Lucas believes that the only way Helen will complete her quest is if he leaves her alone completely, so he tells her he doesn’t want to see her again and that he never loved her. Distraught, Helen carries on with her mission, and for the first time meets another person down in the shadowy underworld: Orion, descended from Adonis and with the power to control desire, he is the heir to the house of Rome and an outcast. He’s also kind of hot. Confused by her conflicting emotions but glad to have an ally in hell, Helen begins to realize the enormity of her task…

This is the second book in a series and as such may contain spoilers for book one Starcrossed.(Read our review of Starcrossed here)

I was so excited to read this book. I loved ‘Starcrossed’, stayed up all night so I could finish and almost threw the book across the room when I finished it as I was so desperate to read the next book straight away. So the second ‘Dreamless’ arrived I started it and although I wouldn’t say I was disappointed it was nowhere near as good as I expected it to be. This could have been the result of my high expectations, it could be middle book syndrome, I don’t know, but I didn’t feel the same urge to carry on reading the way I had with the first book. I read ‘Dreamless’ in three parts, a couple of weeks between each section, I normally devour books in one sitting, but to be fair this is not the first second book in a series that I have read in parts lately.

This almost makes it sound as though I disliked ‘Dreamless’, but I did genuinely enjoy the book and am looking forward to the conclusion, I just didn’t get swept away to the same extent this time. I would recommend reading ‘Starcrossed’ again if it’s a while since you read it. There is very little recapping and I did at times struggle to remember what was happening.

It was lovely to return to characters I loved so much before. I know very little Greek Mythology, but this book, more than the first left me with a thirst to find out more. I hurt alongside Helen and Lucas as they struggled to contain their feelings for each other and act as cousins should. My heart broke for them as they realised how impossible that was. There was some attempt to introduce a love triangle to the story, but I didn’t find it overly convincing. I loved Orion as a character, in fact I like him much more than Lucas, but it is so obvious that he is not the one for Helen. There were times where I almost disliked Helen as I felt that she was leading him on and settling for second best.

As in the previous book the secondary characters play a very important part. They support Helen in her quest in the underworld, but their feeling of being useless is reflected well in the reader. They also provide respite from the trauma that the main characters of Helen, Lucas and Orion are going through. Although there were times I wanted to scream at the characters for being either so stupid or self obsessed that they couldn’t see what was happening, it was almost refreshing to see that people, including demigods are fallible and they don’t always get things right.

Verdict: So whilst ‘Dreamless’ didn’t grab me in the same way that ‘Starcrossed’ had, I did enjoy the book. It serves as a good bridge to what promises to be an explosive climax.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: July 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 512
Genre: Supernatural, Mythology
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Carnival of Souls

Melissa Marr
Enter the Carnival…
In a city of daimons, strict class lines control every aspect of life. At the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls where, once in a generation, anyone can fight for their chance to join the elite.
Kaleb is of the lowest caste; Aya is ruling caste – but female. They both face bleak futures and, for each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
Mallory lives in the human world and knows little of The City, beyond the threat it poses her and her family. But soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls…

I was really excited to read this book. I think few write ‘dark atmosphere’ better than Melissa Marr on the YA scene and ‘Carnival of Souls’ certainly didn’t disappoint.

The book is based in two very different worlds, the world that we live and The City. After winning a war that lasted for years within The City the Daimons banished the Witches to our world and that is where they stay. The City is so well described that it almost takes on a life of its own and you feel you know it in the same way as you do the characters. I really felt as though I was there and could hear the noise and smell the smells of the ‘Carnival of Souls’, which takes place a night within the city.

It is the characters that really make this book. It is a true ensemble cast and as the book moves on you get to know all four main characters very well, how they think and how they react to what goes on around them. Although the story focuses around events in Mallory’s life, Kaleb, Aya and to a slightly lesser extent Belios all seem just as important. This works very well as I honestly didn’t have a favourite. The fact that the book is written from multiple points of view is what makes it so special. It allows you to get to know more than one character and how they think instead of seeing everybody through just one person’s eyes.

Apparently this book wasn’t planned; Melissa Marr just had an idea and then ran with it. This is a perfect example of why you should be able to do just that. It’s a very strong start to a new series and I am very much looking forward to the next one.

Verdict: Fantastic setting and a brilliant ensemble cast. I can’t wait for more!

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Sarah Rees Brennan

Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met – a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn’t complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part – until disturbing events begin to happen.
There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real…and he may be dangerous.
Kami talks to Jared in her head, it doesn’t seem strange to her as it’s always been that way. Others think she is a little strange she tries to hide her conversations with the boy she assumes is her imaginary friend. Then the Lynburn family return, the family that ruled the town in the past, the family that the town does not seem happy to see again, a family with a past full of secrets and mysteries. Suddenly the boy in Kami’s head, Jared, is in front of her and on face value seems to be the most dangerous Lynburn of them all.

Unspoken is a brilliant atmospheric, gothic piece, but at no point does it take itself seriously.The dialogue, especially that of Kami, can be wonderfully witty and sarcastic whilst staying on just the right side of feeling forced.There are some group scenes and misunderstandings that had me laughing out loud, not something that happens all that often to me when I read.

Sarah Rees Brennan has managed to find a perfect balance between creepy and comedy. The comedy halts any idea of the pretentiousness trap that gothic literature can sometimes fall in to.The humorous sections also break up the tension, but in a good way, I often don’t cope well with books that ratchet up the tension, the needing to know can often make me give up, but that was not the case here. I needed to know but could wait to find out.

Unspoken is mainly told from the point of view of Kami, though occasionally we see what is happening through Jared’s eyes.Though this isn’t made obvious the writing style changes enough that it is easy to recognise most of the times it happens. Kami and Jared are very definitely the main characters but that hasn’t stopped the author building up a set of very believable characters who are all very different. Even characters that aren’t seen often have definite individual characteristics. The ending didn’t leave me hanging to the extent that others books have, but I will be watching out for the time that the second book in the trilogy comes out.

Verdict: Creepy and atmospheric but at the same time laugh out loud funny. Believable characters and a very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: August 2012
Format: eARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Supernatural, Gothic Mystery
Age: YA book review
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Netgallay
Challenge: None
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Whispers Underground

Ben Aaronovitch

It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects…except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.
At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful…and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

This is very much a grown up urban fantasy series where Peter Grant is our protagonist and often very amusingly, rather cynical narrator. He’s a policeman based in London, about to be consigned to a data entry post as far too easily distracted for real police work. Just as he’s about to resign himself to his fate he finds that he has an aptitude for sensing the supernatural. He quickly finds out that London is home to ghosts, gods, wizards and so on and it’s up to the police to make sure that they toe the line. Any cases with a supernatural element are passed to Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale with the proviso that it stays hidden from the general public’s knowledge and preferably, separate from their normal police investigations. Nightingale, a wizard in his own right takes on Peter as his apprentice.

In this book (the third in the series), Peter is asked to assist in a murder investigation, the victim being an American with a father influential enough to warrant the FBI being involved. The setting for the investigation is centred around the underground tunnels and the stinking sewers of London.

The pace of this book once it gets going, is fast and action packed. Yet again Aaronovitch’s classic British humour is superb. He also has the ability to make you snort with amusement one minute and then feel uneasy the next when the scene suddenly turns sinister.

Inspector Seawoll is back leading the task force and any hopes that his own recent brush with magic will have endeared him to Nightingale’s department and Peter in particular, are cruelly but nevertheless amusingly, dashed.

It’s great to see that Lesley’s presence in this book is much stronger as she joins the team, thanks to her recent disclosure in ‘Moon under Soho’. It’s also interesting to see how she is developing as a character now that her once beautiful face is now so horribly disfigured. It would have been so easy to just ‘magic’ her back to normal. Instead we see her continue to be the technically brilliant police officer that she is whilst she and Peter cope with her new found visual disfigurement.

Verdict : Murder, genius loci, magic and humour all in one book. Aaronivitch has done it again with ‘Whispers Underground’ and is my favourite book of the series so far.

Please note that artwork featured is for the UK hardback published by Gollancz on the 21st June 2012
Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Del Ray Books
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: eARC
Pages: 432
Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Crime
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Karen
Source: US publisher via Netgalley
Challenge: British Book
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Jana Oliver

Riley Blackthorne. Kicking hell’s ass one demon at a time…
Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they’ve come to collect.
Lucifer’s finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it’s all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley’s not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help…

This is the third book in Jana Oliver’s ‘Demon Trappers’ series. There will be no spoilers for this book but there may be for the previous two. Life isn’t great for Riley Blackthorne. Her ex-boyfriend wasn’t who she thought he was, her Dad has been reanimated and really isn’t himself and to top it off she has found herself owing a favour to both Heaven and Hell. ‘Forgiven’ picks up exactly where ‘Forsaken’ left off.

I had been looking forward to the release of this book since I read the last one in August. On the face of it this series is just another one of those teen supernatural books that can be found anywhere at the moment, but in reality this is so much more. ‘Forgiven’ follows Riley, the main protagonist, but also at times switches the viewpoint to Denver Beck, known to most as simply ‘Beck’. Riley is a teen apprentice Demon Trapper, the first girl the guild has ever allowed into its ranks. Beck is a Journeyman Trapper, ex army from a very troubled background. Riley’s Dad took Beck into their family and mentored him in the ‘trapping’ profession. It is this relationship that has really captured my interest. It’s not about instant love but about friendship and how love can grow and is handled in a much more mature way than relationships in books for teens generally are and this is a real strength of the book. I can hold my hands up and say that I absolutely adore Beck. Not instantly likeable, his character has developed over the three books in a way that makes you understand where he is coming from. Life has not been easy for him, and that with the way he cares for Riley makes you love him all the more. Whilst reading ‘Forgiven’ I actually looked forward more to the sections written from his point of view than I did Riley’s. Jana Oliver has created two characters that you can really care about.

The only problem with the book is the cliff hanger ending. Do I really have to wait till August for the next one?

Verdict: A well written teen urban fantasy book with amazing characterisation. Exciting, absorbing and will leave you begging for more.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Dead Reckoning

Charlaine Harris

With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit – and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can’t ‘read’ vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam well – and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human – and that there is a new Queen on the board

If you happen to be new to Sookie’s universe I would highly recommend that you start at the beginning of the series with Dead until Dark.

The character development that began in Dead in the Family continues here. Although still impulsive at times Sookie is beginning to consider the consequences of her connections to the supernatural community and the challenges of a long term relationship with a ruthless immortal.

Pam continues to provide some of the wittiest and driest dialog in the series. We are provided with a satisfying glimpse past the fierce, perfectly polished facade as she demonstrates the protective element of her personality.

Dead reckoning finds Sookie in a cathartic mood, spring cleaning her attic and her life. The apparently pointless appearances of a naked Alcide (I know I can’t quite believe that I wrote “naked Alcide” and “pointless” in the same sentence!) and the consequences for Sookie’s household, led to the feeling that the author was also in the mood to spring clean. It remains to be seen whether this was simply intended to tie up loose ends and focus attention to the primary players or if the author has some wicked plot twists up her sleeve for the remaining two books.

Bills apparent personality transplant, the all too convenient departure of Judith and the artless “love making” scene really niggled at me. As an ardent supporter of team Eric Northman perhaps I’m simply experiencing sour grapes at the direction the romance appears to be taking.

Verdict: While I enjoyed dipping back in to the Sookie universe I didn’t enjoy this instalment as much as previous Sookie novels. However having come this far with the series, I am determined to stick it out for the remaining two novels.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 325
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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