Soldier, The Talon Saga by Julie Kagawa

soldierI was completely underwhelmed by Soldier. Kagawa is a brilliantly creative writer with quite a few best-selling series.Talon is full of dragon politics, genetic manipulation and a love triangle, This book is a little on the tepid side though.

This is the third in the Talon series, an urban fantasy with scaled fire-breathing shifters. It sort of felt like an in between book packed with information with the sole purpose of leading us into a culmination of the fighting between all the factions.

Ember is still trying to figure out whether she should listen to her dragon or her human side when it comes to Garret and Riley. Her dragon clearly wants Riley, but perhaps more on a physical level. Her heart wants Garrett on an emotional level.

No wonder she is confused, irritated and suffering from insomnia. I suppose it’s like having two souls, which technically she probably does.

Things are heating up, loyalties are being questioned and connections are being revealed. Betrayal at the highest level is on the table. Nothing is as it seems.

Soldier may be full of action, but it is a little low on the usual entanglements, herzschmerz and meaningful interactions. Perhaps the next instalment will have more of Kagawa’s usual flair.

Buy Soldier (Talon #3) at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Unrivalled by Alyson Noël

unrivalledThe feel of this book is an interesting mixture of Young Adult with a certain flair for the reality and cut-throat world of Hollywood. It reminded me of a Jackie Collins story without the huge dollop of sex she was known to incorporate into her books.

It’s the same kind of intimate and truthful look behind the golden curtains of Hollywood lifestyles, the the ruthless choices people will make to be famous, and just how hungry they are to be in the spotlight.

Obviously the fate of Madison is left as a cliffhanger to lead into another book. I couldn’t decide whether it was an intentional ploy by Noël. Was it thrown in there at random purely to hook readers, who will want to know where the girl is? A Gone Girl moment? Or did the glitzy reality TV show like competition just sink the second plot?

Tommy, Layla and Aster and just three of many when it comes to wanting a step up the ladder of fame and fortune. Taking part in a competition to become one of Ira’s shaker and movers seems like the perfect way to achieve their goals.

Layla chooses to chat, gossip and lie for her bread and butter. Tommy becomes too attached to Madison and Aster is suddenly famous in a way she really didn’t expect or want. I wonder if Noël will go back to what happened to Aster. It’s left a wee bit open-ended in this story. It needs to be addressed in some way.

In the end I think they all sacrifice a little bit of their soul to be a part of celebrity circle.

I think this will appeal to older teens and young adults. The whole ‘becoming famous’ via social media and the manipulations celebs pull off to stay on the front pages, and on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Of course the real question is what happened to Madison? I guess we will find out in the next book.

Buy Unrivalled at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

night studyIf you are new to Maria V. Snyder then it might help to know that Night Study is the second book in the Soulfinders series and that it is a spin-off from two other series, the Study series and the Glass series or the Chronicles of Ixia.

Yelena is in the most difficult position she can be in. She is incapable of defending herself without her powers. She isn’t welcome in one place for being a magician and just as unwelcome in the other for being a magician without power. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

On top of that someone has decided to mess with her personal life in an attempt to get rid of Valek. Unfortunately it has far-reaching consequences for the two of them. It makes each step the two of them take so much more important.

Integral to the series is the relationship between Valek and the Commander. It’s taken a turn for the worst to say the least, and finally Valek is forced into making a bold statement and choice between the man he swore to protect and the woman he loves.

I have to say the Commander could definitely get lost if it were me, regardless of whether he is being manipulated by Owen or not. Valek needs to smell the roses and get the heck out of Dodge already.

Night Study isn’t Snyder’s best, not by a long shot. She is a spectacular fantasy writer, which is certainly evident in her earlier books. Not so much in this one.

Buy Night Study at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Monster by C.J. Skuse


I wasn’t expecting it to get so dark, probably because it starts out with a general Enid Blyton boarding school feel to it. The normal toxic relationships between teenage girls living in close vicinity to each other. Away from their parents and siblings, and shut off from the real world, as they go about their daily life in a cold and strict environment.

Skuse lulls the reader into a false sense of security. The focus is on the myth of the monster, the fear of the unknown and the slightly dysfunctional boarding school atmosphere.

Then from out of nowhere the pace, the plot and the genre changes in one foul swoop. I can’t tell you what, why, when or who, because it would spoil the surprise heading your way.

I think it is possible Skuse might return to this particular set of characters, because of the way she left the beast storyline. Something to explore in the future perhaps?

Overall it was a surprising read that will appeal to readers who like some innocence with their gore, a portion of mean with their candy floss sugary sweet and a wee bit of gnarly bloody beast with their murders.

Looking forward to see where this author takes us next with her twisted imagination.

Buy Monster at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Deviants by C.J. Skuse or Sweetpea.

Take Me On by Katie McGarry


I enjoyed the fact this author did not bow down to the en-vogue propensity in YA to blame the victim or excuse the bad boy. Instead McGarry has created and displayed the issue of teen relationship abuse within the constructs of a secondary romance.

Instead the author has dispelled some of the mythical attitude about victims of abuse only being physically weak. In this case Haley is a prize-winning martial arts champion, and yet she still falls prey to an abusive boyfriend. She struggles with the acknowledgement and comprehension of the abuse. Part of that inner struggle is due to her own physical capabilities and strengths.

Although it seems as if that particular sub-plot only sails by quietly during the storms of the main plot it is, as far as I am concerned, the most important part of the story.

Family dynamics and dysfunctional relationships within families are put on display and that includes the relationship between Haley and West.

The two teens dance around their emotions and the instability of their surroundings in a way only people of that age can. Obsessive, passionate and often irrational. Going from angry to heartbroken and then deliriously happy in a matter of seconds.

It is a spirited tale of connection, support and encouragement.

This paperback edition also includes a bonus ‘Pushing the Limits’ novella by Katie McGarry called ‘Crossing the Line’ featuring Lincoln and Lila.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK & MIRAInk UK.