Review: Lailah (Styclar Saga #1) by Nikki Kelly

18324459Source: Amazon UK
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 7th October 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Price: £7.59
Date Read: 7th/8th October 2014 & 1st September 2015

Amazon UK – Hardcover / Paperback / Kindle / Audio Book

Goodreads Summary:

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

It’s been almost a year since I originally read Lailah and I honestly have no good reason for not reviewing this book before. I read Lailah while I was on holiday in the wilds of the Welsh/English border. There was no phone reception or internet, unless you went into the pub and connected to their wifi. Before going away I had pre-ordered via Amazon and hoped for the best that I would be able to get the book on my Kindle on release day. Fortunately for me (and not so fortunately for those I was on holiday with!) I did download Lailah and spent the next two days with my head firmly stuck in Nikki Kelly’s amazing world.

I had heard a heck of a lot about Lailah even before it was published publicly for all to read. British author Nikki Kelly originally published the story online on Wattpad and it was picked up by an American publisher; the American YA audience loved it and (quite rightly) got behind Nikki and made Lailah and the Styclar Saga a sensation. ARC copies of Lailah were pored over, rejoiced over and the praises sung of the story and author for many weeks before and after the publishing of Lailah. Reading it for myself I can certainly see why. I am certainly a massive fan of this amazingly talented Brit myself!

Lailah is a paranormal sensational story written in the first person; I did this and I went to that… Not a format I would normally read but being front and centre of a YA Paranormal-y Romance-y Action-y story really appealed. The book is filled with vampires, angels, demons and angels… A chaotic mix which works perfectly and yet totally confuzzles the reader in a rather please ‘Give me more’ way!

The writing is open and appealing and extremely easy to read and lose yourself in. The story, although some may at first say mirrors others of the same genre, surprises the reader with twists, turns and mysteries which leave you wanting and eager to turn the page. For me it was definitely an ‘Oh God it’s 4am and I have to be up in 3 hours, why the hell can’t I put this book down and go to sleep’ book. High praise indeed! it’s also a re-readable book. I’ve read it I-don’t-know-how-many times so far but I still love it and keep going back to it. I spot things or make connections that I haven’t before. That’s the kind of book I really love; one which will sit well-worn on my bookcase, not gathering dust because it doesn’t have the chance to sit still long enough.

My love for it is something I’ve certainly tried to share and I hope I’ve been doing my bit here in the UK – I managed to persuade my library to buy a copy and it’s not been too long on the shelves so far to my knowledge!

So, have I persuaded you to give it a try? Let me know if you’re Team Gabriel or Team Jonah! Me? I’m Team Lailah; she’s strong and able and should be a team all of her own!

Read Lailah and now you want more? 

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Amazon UK – Hardcover & Kindle

The second book in the Styclar Saga series ‘Gabriel’ is available for pre-order and will be released on the 27th October 2015; not long to go!

From Goodreads:

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He’s also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

About the AuthoNikki-Kelly-BWr:

NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

Review: Finding Her Way Back by Heather Van Fleet & Giveaway Link

Welcome one and all to my stop on the Finding Her Way Back Blog Tour. Before we start with the review, do we all have refreshments to hand? Good!

Source: Author / YA Bound – Blog Tour CommanderFinding Her Way Back
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 7th October 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 6th October 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Note: I received this review copy of Finding Her Way Back for free from the blog tour commander in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please be aware that this book contains language and situations that are adult in nature.

 

Finding Her Way Back (FHWB) is the first novel by Heather Van Fleet I have read but not the first which Heather has written. In the past she has written books for two other series; Perfect Timing (When It’s Least Expected & A Long Time Coming) and Predetermined (Resisting Fate & Seizing Fate). If FHWB is anything to go by, I have high hopes for the others.

Coming home from her first 9 months of college to help she-devil older sister Anna plan and prepare for her wedding, 19 year old Callie is unprepared to come into contact with her former-skater-boy and ex-best friend turned muscular sex-god Ky. The booty-licious chubby-sexy Callie though is constantly thrown into contact with Ky and a friendship once more develops. With so much history between the two though and family tragedy and secrets aplenty, can the two of them stick together and move their swiftly blooming relationship on or will Callie’s hesitance and fears pull them apart?

I guess like me you’ll have to read it to find out. It’ll be well worth your while.

In perfect honesty this review is terribly hard to write – I’m still (almost a week later) trying to recover from the book hangover it’s left me with. I blame you, Heather!

Basically this book is fantastic – it is hard to read and no doubt like me you will start shouting at the characters (I do apologise to anyone standing outside that open window who wondered what the heck was going on when I shouted out ‘Dammit Callie, not again!’ for the tenth time). This book made me laugh, it made me cry and practically everything in between. It isn’t a sunshine sparkles and rainbows book; it’s real life. It’s hard and grim at times but this book contains so much sweetness and friendship and love and a tonne of hilarious moments you end up giggling your way through the book – outright guffawing at times. Some lines are so sweet and amazing though, they stay with you.

Licking his lips, eyes glazing over completely, Ky leaned in so close that our noses were pressed flush now. “Because, Calla Lily Bennet, I. Am. Yours. I’ve been yours for years. And I won’t stop being yours. Ever.”

Ky, Finding Her Way Back by Heather Van Fleet

I completely love Heather’s way of writing and talking about her characters. You can see that this book is her baby and she is so in love with it and her characters. From the main characters of Callie with her attitude and Ky with his respect and love for Callie, right down to Brent, Tracey and everyone else, they are all so detailed. The writing draws you in and doesn’t let you go. The characters keep you there and their situations, attitudes and stories keep you. Oh and if you’re anything like me, the immature humour certainly helps.

I am completely in love with Callie and Ky. They are perfect for each other. Given that these two characters are meant to be in their late-teens / early-twenties I was amazed at the overall level-headedness of these two, Ky especially. Callie has been hurt by love in the past; both familial and in relationships. In the past she has pulled away from her former best-friend Ky and this has hurt them both. Ky – shmexy, wonderful man that he is, is more than ready to pick Callie up and show her what she has been missing and how much he loves her. I want that!! Unfortunately, Ky is well and truly taken by the wonderful author it seems… Maybe she will share?

Overall this is an utterly fantastic book which I am certain will divide the audience as all good books do. Some may love it, some may dislike it but honestly, it is what it is. It shows honestly that life isn’t easy. Finding a book which takes life and puts it in a way the audience can understand and relate to is pretty damn hard to find.

For this and everything else I love about this book:

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ – Bl**dy brilliant

 

About the author: 

heather van fleet
Midwestern native Heather Van Fleet lives in a small town on the Iowa/Illinois border. She’s a wife to her hubby–and high school sweet heart–Chris, as well as a mom/mum to her three little girls, Kelsey, Emma and Bella. When she’s not obsessing over her fictional book characters, cooking dinner, or running around chasing her crazy kiddos, you can usually find her with her head stuck in her Kindle, sucking down White Chocolate Mochas like they’re water.

You can find Heather on her Website, on Twitter or on Facebook. Go add yourself as a fan too on her Goodreads page!

Giveaway:

Take me to the giveaway please!

The tour continues – click on the picture below for the tour schedule

Finding-Her-Way-Back-tour banner

 

This tour was scheduled by the wonderful…

YA Bounk Tour Button

Review: Elysian Fields (Sentinels of New Orleans #3) by Suzanne Johnson

Own the book: Yes9780755397709
Source: BookBridgr
Format: Paperback
Published: (Originally) 15th August 2013 by Headline
Price: N/A
Date Read: 15th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson for free through BookBridgr. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Elysian Fields is the third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, preceded by Royal Street (#1) and River Road (#2). It is classed by Headline as a Fiction/Urban Fantasy mix. I couldn’t quite work out if this was aimed at a teen or adult audience however, but I think it could easily be enjoyed by both.

Before reading this book I will fully admit that I had not read either of the other books in the series but I was intrigued too much by the storyline and the gorgeous cover to let my chance to read it pass. And I’m so pleased I took it.

The Sentinels of New Orleans series focuses around the main character of DJ – Drusilla Jaco. DJ is an odd mix of wizard and elf, with the powers of both. The books are set around New Orleans in the times around Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane opened a passageway from the Beyond to present day New Orleans, giving characters still remembered by the world of today the opportunity to came back for periods. These characters can be good, bad or a charming pirate named Jean who is a mix of both. The world DJ lives in contains elves, werewolves, witches and wizards along with shapeshifters, elves and who knows what else.

Book three was an absolute joy to read. The characters imagined by Suzanne Johnson fully came to life in my mind and her descriptions were wonderful. I laughed, I hid in fear and I couldn’t put it down. I even had a 3am incident when I just didn’t want to stop reading, despite having to work the following day! I found that though I had missed the first two books in the series, I could still really enjoy the book as everything was explained succinctly enough to get the gist of what had previously happened without it ruining the flow.

I loved too the hints of romance in the story – the will they/won’t they play which still wasn’t sorted at the end. Can I hear a book 4 in the distance? Please? If bribery will work I’ll send cupcakes…!

It was a clever book and one I would certainly recommend. So please, give it a try!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 22nd June 2014

Read my review for Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 here.

As in Volume 1, Volume 2 is once again centered around the main characters of Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his angel best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. They are joined by some of the people helped by Picasso and Chiaki from the first book, now friends of Picasso. I liked the continuation and inclusion of more characters, especially since they had been helped by Picasso and Chiaki and were then in a position to help others.

I enjoyed the second volume of stories even more than the first, mainly because it faced a lot of even more challenging topics; bullying, gender identification and finding the courage to follow your dreams and work hard to make them come true. Difficult topics for any book, but ones which I think were covered well – from my perspective at least.

I look forward to reading Volume 3!

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 13th June 2014

This is the first of a three-volume set by the author Usamaru Furuya, centred around the main character Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. Given the age difference between myself and the characters I did wonder if this was a little young for me but found that the problems faced by the characters were still fitting and applied to me.

The volumes are split into chapters, each of which focuses on a character, their problem and the solution to their woe. In the first chapter, Picasso and Chiaki are involved in an accident – one which proves fatal to Chiaki who then becomes an angel-like being, helping Picasso with his new problem. He rots. You see, he should have died too but thanks to the prayers of Chiaki he was saved to help others. This he does by drawing what is in a troubled person’s heart and solving that problem with Chiaki (and sometimes others) assistance. An interesting idea and one I haven’t seen before! In the first volume this includes problems and misunderstandings from childhood, bullying and more. I really enjoyed this book and would certainly encourage others to try it – I especially enjoyed the images of the troubled hearts – they were amazing and so detailed. Each one told a detailed and somewhat intricate story.

Like Alice in the Country of Hearts, this is a Japanese styled visual novel, reading from right to left across the page and from the back to the front of the book. After a few pages you get into the swing of things and stop thinking about it. After reading I looked up the translation of ‘Genkaku’ and found that it could mean rigid or severe – fitting for Picasso’s character.

So yes, if you’re looking for something different to read please give this a try.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fanatic Rabbit Vol.1

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th June 2014

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a Japanese re-take of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novel. It is a visual novel – a manga (from my understanding of the word) type book. It is made up much like a comic book with lots of illustrations and few words, although at 190 pages a few more than a normal comic. This was my first time reading a book of this sort and I really enjoyed it. I loved the pictures and found them extremely expressive. Being Japanese based, there were many expressions – such as twitch/piku, twinge/kyu and shock/gan – alongside the spoken text parts which took a while to get used to but which expressed movement and emotion far more than expected of a 2D page. I also found the way of reading the book to be confusing – it is based on the Japanese reading style, moving from right to left across the page rather than left to right. The book also started from the back, rather than the front!

When I started reading, I did feel that I started in the middle of the story, and having done my research it looks like this book is an offshoot of another series. It didn’t stop me from enjoying this story though. The main character ‘Alice Liddell’ is an Outsider, brought into a strange world by Peter White. She comes to live with the Hatter Mafia at Hatter Mansion with Blood DuPre, his 2nd in command Elliot Marsh and the guards Dum and Dee. Alice goes between many emotions and seems to be slightly clueless and unstable… but the book was interesting so I will certainly try another and see what happens next.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Own the book: Yes
Format: Paperback
Price: Unknown
Date Re-Read: 2nd May 2014

‘Fallen’ is the 1st book in the Fallen series by the author Lauren Kate. This book was a re-read after a number of years. I came rather early to the series and unfortunately lost interest before the second book ‘Torment’ was published.

This is a teen paranormal romance book and certainly lives up to this genre. It is chock-full of angst, end-of-the-world love and high-paced changes of emotion. Yet I still gobbled it up. The book centres around the characters of Luce and Daniel and their friends / enemies in the reform school Sword and Cross in deepest dingiest America. Luce, the beautiful heroine and Daniel, the handsome hero have apparently never met but Luce remembers and dreams of times past, situations with Daniel which have never happened. Why? Of course Daniel can’t tell her and this is the main storyline of the book and, it seems, the series. The book reads as many other teen romances but does bring up a number of plot twists which are completely unexpected.

If you don’t mind highly emotional teens, this is the paranormal romance for you. It is very readable and pulls you in with believable characters and is a well-written book. I look forward to book 2, Torment.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥