BOOK REVIEW: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Review by Sarah McDuling)

glass swordReview by Sarah McDuling

Victoria Aveyard really knows how to keep readers wanting more. Last year, Red Queen shot to the top of the best sellers lists as people everywhere found themselves captivated by the story of Mare Barrow AKA The Lightning Girl.

Red Queen is a fast paced and action-packed tale set in a dystopian society with a rigid class structure, in a world full of people with superpowers. The book ended on a pretty intense cliff-hanger and luckily Glass Sword picks up right where we left off.

As the second book in the series, Glass Sword has a lot of work to do setting things up for the next book. And yet not only does it manage to match the intensity of the first book, it packs a pretty harsh emotional punch in the final act. And by that I mean not everyone survives and the ending is pretty devastating – consider yourselves warned! In fact, based on the ending (another agonizing cliff-hanger) Victoria Aveyard is clearly gearing up for a pretty spectacular third book.

A must read for fans of Alexandra Bracken, Veronica Roth and Tahereh Mafi.

Pre-Order your copy of Glass Sword here!

Glass Sword: Kneel or Bleed
Red Queen Series: Book 2

by Victoria Aveyard

glass swordIf there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare’s blood is Red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter …

Pre-Order your copy of Glass Sword here!

BOOK REVIEW: Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundReview by Sarah McDuling

Rebound is one of those super sneaky page-turners – the kind of book where you’re certain you’re going to put it down when you get to the end of the chapter, but then something happens that makes you want to keep reading. And so you read another chapter. And another, and another…

Packed full of red-herrings, surprise plot twists and complex characters with questionable morals, this tightly written psychological thriller is a sure bet to be one of the most popular crime reads of the year, not to mention an excellent choice for book clubs.

Protagonist Anna is a dynamic and very compelling main character. Recently single and enjoying her independence, she makes an impulsive decision that leads to an encounter with a strange man… and suddenly her life is drastically and irrevocably changed.

An engrossing debut from an impressive new talent, Rebound is the perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain and Mary Kubica.

Learn more about Rebound here!


by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundLife is good for Anna Wright. She’s a successful media executive working for one of the UK’s largest TV corporations. She’s got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.

But Anna’s perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.

There’s a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna’s professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.

Learn more about Rebound here!

BOOK REVIEW: The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistReview by Sarah McDuling

Wow. Just … wow! Almost from the first page, The Poison Artist grabbed my attention and held it tight. I could not put this book down and honestly, there were moments so fraught with tension that I had to remind myself to keep breathing.

Unfolding like a feverish nightmare where the lines between reality and fantasy are constantly blurred, The Poison Artist is a story dealing with the dangers of obsession and the dark side of desire.

With it’s haunting prose and intensely creepy atmosphere, The Poison Artist boasts a cast of compelling characters and a fantastic plot that kept me in a state of almost frantic confusion until the mystery was solved.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!

The Poison Artist

by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistDr. Caleb Maddox is a crack San Francisco toxicologist leading a ground-breaking study of the human pain threshold based on minute analysis of chemical markers. He has also just broken up with his artist girlfriend after she discovered a shocking family secret in his past.

Seeking solace, Caleb finds a dark, old-fashioned saloon called House of Shields, and is mesmerised when a beautiful woman materialises out of the shadows, dressed like a 1940s movie star. The enigmatic Emmeline shares a pouring of absinthe with him, brushes his arm and vanishes.

As he pursues her through the brooding, night-time city, desperate to see her again, he simultaneously becomes entangled in a serial murder investigation that has … Learn More.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!


BOOK REVIEW: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Review by Emily Meredith)

passengerReview by Emily Meredith

Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy preparing to make her debut in the professional music world. But her performance doesn’t go to plan, she loses focus, and then she wakes up in 1776 in the middle of a sea battle.

Etta comes from a line of families with the ability to travel through time. However, her mother ran away from this world, and neglected to tell Etta anything about this skill. With a protagonist as oblivious as the reader, Bracken helps us fall into the world of Passenger with relative ease.

What I found incredibly unique about this particular method of time travel is that there are specific doors, or passages, which always lead to a particular place. Travellers can’t just choose a time and place to get to immediately – the path they must take can become convoluted.

Guided by Nicholas, an old-fashioned gentleman with a hint of pirate, Etta must locate an object only her family line had access to, or risk the wrath of a manipulative old patriarch. Although fearing for her mother’s life, Etta still finds a tiny bit of time for romance – who can resist a rogue? Plus, it makes for some brilliant moments when Nicholas’ old-fashioned manners clash with Etta’s modern ideas.

There are plenty of fascinating characters besides the two protagonists – Rose, Etta’s mother, Alice, her violin teacher, and the conniving Sophia Ironwood, just to name a few. The world-building is also fantastic – I absolutely loved falling into this one!

A great mix between historical fiction and fantasy, Passenger is a brilliant story. My only major issue with the book is that I now have to wait for the next one…This was my first foray into Alexandra Bracken, but I will definitely be checking out her The Darkest Minds series – if the premise is even half as good as Passenger I am sure to enjoy myself immensely!

passenger banner

Pre-Order your copy of Passenger here!

* eBook deal *

Grab Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds for only $2.99!
(Only until Monday January 18, 2016)

The Darkest Minds

by Alexandra Bracken

the-darkest-mindsFirst in a dystopian trilogy, where showing your true colours can get you killed.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to thurmond, a government ‘rehabilitation camp’. Ruby might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others had emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes thurmond with her life. Now on the run, she is desperate to find … Read More.

Grab your eBook copy of The Darkest Minds here!




The First Trailer for The BFG Movie has been Released!

If a project contains the creative forces of Roald Dahl, Disney and Steven Spielberg, it’s going to be pretty spectacular.

The long talked about live action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book The BFG won’t be here until July 2016, but we have the very first trailer to enjoy!

Starring Mark Rylance, who played Thomas Cromwell in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the film also boasts the talents of Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement.

Grab your copy of The BFG here

xthe-bfg.jpg.pagespeed.ic.og9CS9t0EaThe BFG

by Roald Dahl

The BFG. is a nice and jumbly giant. In fact, he is the only big friendly giant in Giant Country.

All the other giants are big bonecrunching brutes, and now the BFG and his friend Sophie must stop them guzzling up little human beans – with some help from Her Majesty The Queen.

Grab your copy of The BFG here


GUEST BLOG: Ben Sanders on his upcoming novel American Blood

Ben Sanders AuthorPhotoIn Ben Sanders’s American Blood, a former undercover cop now in witness protection finds himself pulled into the search for a missing woman; film rights sold to Warner Bros with Bradley Cooper attached to star and produce.

As the title no doubt implies, American Blood is an American novel, but the opportunity to write it came as something of a surprise. My first three books are police procedurals set in Auckland, and follow a detective called Sean Devereaux. I was interested in developing an ongoing series, and saw him as a long-term source of fiction. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might need a different protagonist or setting, at least for the next few years.

I’ve been published at home in New Zealand since 2010, but prior to American Blood, writing was just a hobby, a nice counterpoint to work and university. I knew a U.S. readership could be the difference between writing by day and writing by night, and I thought Devereaux would help me make the transition. My third novel with him at the helm was published in New Zealand in 2013, and I traveled to New York City in the hope of gaining a deal with a U.S. publisher. My approach was a bit unorthodox – in the interests of stampede prevention, editors don’t tend to accept meetings with prospective, unknown authors. I was lucky though: I was in New York for two weeks, and my agent found me a fifteen-minute window with my now-current editor Brendan Deneen. During a slightly lightheaded quarter-hour, I pitched to him my most recent effort, Only the Dead.american-blood

The good news took its sweet time. I flew home and kept my fingers crossed for six months, and then in October 2013 Brendan emailed to ask if I was interested in writing a U.S.-set mystery series. I’d have to put Devereaux on hold, but yes, I was definitely interested.

A two-book deal followed. American Blood is the first, with a follow-up due for publication toward the end of next year. My new protagonist is a former NYPD officer named Marshall Grade, who’s been put in witness protection in New Mexico after he botches an undercover operation. I love character-driven stories, so I was always going to have a hero cut from Marshall’s kind of cloth – a man capable of dealing with thugs in a very hands-on sense of the phrase. The recurring protagonists in my first three novels were a police detective and an ex-solider, and I wanted Marshall to have similar attributes. Broadly speaking, he does, but his point of difference is that he’s self-taught: a canny and intelligent guy afforded a violent repertoire as a result of undercover work with a New York crime family.

I started the book in January 2014. I didn’t have a plot outline. I operate on the principle that the characters come first, and their motivations in turn define the direction only-the-deadof the story.

My daily routine is to walk the dog for an hour in the morning, during which time I consider the previous day’s progress, and plan how to advance things in a logical manner. If I’m productive, I can write fifteen hundred words by five pm. Occasionally I hit a day when the ideas don’t flow, but with American Blood I was fortunate to never lose momentum. I was helped by the fact the film rights were optioned by Warner Bros. in February 2014, while the manuscript was only fifty pages long. The prospect of a blockbuster was a powerful incentive to get the story told, and I completed the first draft in four months.

American Blood is the first book I’ve been able to work on full-time, and it’s my first book to be published internationally. I’m writing the sequel at the moment, and hopefully I can bring Marshall back for more outings yet. He has a proclivity for violence, but he’s a killer with manners, and his quirks and humor and opinions make me want to spend more time with him. I hope you enjoy American Blood, and I hope you like Marshall as much as I do.

Grab your copy of American Blood here!

American Blood

Ben Sanders

american-bloodAfter a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall’s instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ra.

Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray’s whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall’s efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are … Read more.

Grab your copy of American Blood here!

J.K. Rowling fans rejoice! Exciting news from the author of the Harry Potter series…

We’ve got some big news for you, so brace yourselves. We’re talking go grab a ventilator and have it at the ready brace yourselves. Or a paper bag. Yeah, a paper bag will do.

Alright, here it goes …

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series has announced some very exciting news.  Got your paper bag at the ready? Breathe in … She’s announced that she’ll be writing a new children’s book!

J.K. Rowling

Whilst being interviewed by Simon Mayo at the Radio Two Book Club (in the UK), she mentioned that she’s writing another children’s book.

“I have an idea for a children’s book. Actually I have written part of a children’s book that I really love so I’m definitely going to finish that. And I have other ideas for other adult books”, she said. If it’s anything like the Harry Potter series, it’s sure to be a hit with both children and adults alike.

Asked whether she had other stories she wanted to publish: “Loads…I sometimes worry I’ll die before I’ve written them all out. That’s my mid-life crisis!”

Rowling also spoke about her ‘eighth story’ in the Harry Potter franchise – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – which is set 19 years after Voldemort’s demise. She opted not to write it as a novel but as a screenplay for the West End.

She told Mayo: “I always said I’d never say never. There were things I had in my head about what happened 19 years later. I personally had no desire to write it as a novel, for reasons that I think will become clear when people see the play. I’ll just say that this play would never have happened if this particular team hadn’t come to me. They’re extraordinary and I think together we’ll create a really fantastic experience for people.”

Rowling hasn’t shared any specific details about her upcoming children’s book but we’ll keep you updated as soon as we learn anything!

View J.K. Rowling’s Booktopia author page

 HP illustratedHP colouring book


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