Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review of REVAMPED by Ada Adams


Title: ReVamped
Author: Ada Adams
Source: E-book from the author for review
Publish Date: February 20th 2012

I hereby give this book 5 wings!

I also nominated this book as my Best Book Ever in the Debut Author category.

I'm not sure how I first came across ReVamped, what I do know is I loved what I saw. From the amazingly gorgeous purple cover (my favourite colour) with the beautiful model, to the enticing blurb, I knew that this would be something I wanted to read. 

The day after I looked this up, I was surprised to have an email in my inbox from Ada asking if I would like to review it. Spooky coincidence! I told her that I'd only been looking it up the previous day and would be delighted to review it. Needless to say, this made us both happy!

So I picked ReVamped up a couple of days ago. From the first minute, I was in love with this totally different book. I was reading and the thought struck me, "Holy Hell, these vampires don't sparkle - AWESOME"
So many people say that vampire books are on their way out. I must admit, I have seen a decline in the amount of vampire books out there, but maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. I'm not one of these people anyway, I still very much adore a good vampire book - as long as it's not the 'same old, same old' - I love nothing more than settling down with a good vampire book that I can really sink my fangs into (sorry I just couldn't help myself)

So anyway, on with my review of this amazing book.

ReVamped is the story of 19 year old Dawn, a vampire with a simple mission that turns out to be a deadly nightmare.
Dawn has led a somewhat sheltered life within the confines of her fathers presidential headquarters. For saying she's a vampire, she seems to have had an easy, ordinary life. Though with one exception, she learnt to become a phenomenal fighter. 

When her father finally decides to give Dawn a mission outside of the walls - he tells her he is sending her on an easy little mission in Angel Creek. She is to train 4 vampires to be the new town guardians. The 'Fab Five' - the towns previous guardians - are no longer around. They are off auditioning for shows in Hollywood. So whilst they have the glitz and glamour, Dawn is in charge of getting the new recruits together and into shape.

Little does Dawn know at the time that this mission is far more deadly than her or her father could ever have imagined.

Once in Angel Creek, Dawn sets about her first task - finding the new recruits. All she has to go by are facts in a file on her tablet computer.  There's Brooke Mason, the cheerleader. Sophie Reed, the librarian. Hunter Woods, the ex- punk band singer turned alcoholic. Then there's Seth Lee, the Role-Playing Game Olympic Champion. 
Let me guess, the first thought through your head upon reading that was 'These 4 are meant to be new recruits to become guardians? This rag-tag band of weirdos?' Honestly, you would be right. There is nothing about these 4 that screams that they can become lean mean fighting machines like Dawn. 

But Dawn starts to train them in the hope that they can surprise her. 

When Hannah (the waitress at the town bar) has her dog kidnapped, Dawn discovers that there is far more to the quaint little town than meets the eye. Not only are there werewolves, but they are the complete opposite of how one might expect them to be. Far from the fearsome creatures people have seen on tv or read in books, they are cute fluffy creatures without much backbone - as Dawn comes to find out, much to her annoyance when she could have done with some help.

But werewolves being the exact opposite to their lore is the least of Dawn and the groups worries. The rogue vampires wanted to kidnap Dawn, but instead had to make do with taking Hannah. 
So Dawn and the group must try to find out who the vampires were and where they are likely to be holding Hannah.

I won't spoil things for you by telling you the details - suffice to say, they eventually find this group of vampires and hope to get in and out with Hannah without coming to any harm.

Little do they know that things are about to take a definite turn for the worse. Now Dawn not only has the task of making sure the recruits are ready to protect the town, she has to deal with this villainous vampire that has a strange and deadly obsession with her. 

With twists and turns and much turbulence along the way, this story is a fast-paced, gritty and at times romantic. I can't say much about the love interest, all I will say is, I fell for him when Dawn very first met him. He's mysterious, alluring, moody and handsome. The perfect combination to set my heart all a-flutter. 

As this is Ada Adams' debut novel, I wasn't all that sure what to expect from ReVamped. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found and she has fast landed herself on my favourite author list. I participate in a Best Book Ever feature over on another blog where we get to nominate books in different categories. In a couple of weeks, the category is Debut Author - I have nominated Ada Adams for my entry. I think she is just fantastic and I look forward to hopefully many more books from her in the future!

I like the fact that I could sink easily into Ada's fluid writing style. I like nothing more than being able to lose myself in a book and with ReVamped it was very easy to start reading but very difficult to put it down. 

In short I would say: This book is fast-paced, unputdownable fun, from the first to the final word. 

Thank you Ada. Both for giving me this book and for introducing me to a new world with some awesome new characters. I very much anticipate the release of the second installment.  


Note to those considering purchasing ReVamped:

The author of this book has been the victim of book piracy - The ARC of ReVamped has been fraudulently put on B&N and people have been able to download it from there amongst other places. This being so, people have been able to read and review the unedited, unfinished version - meaning that there have been some poor reviews received. PLEASE do not let these reviews prejudice you against buying a copy for yourself. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble now for download and it is the finished version - the same version as I have just read and I believe you will receive as much pleasure from reading it as I have. 
Please do what you can to guard against book piracy, in my honest opinion, it is the WORST thing that can be done to an author. I know this has upset Ada greatly and with good reason. She has put a lot of hard work into her novel, hoping to give readers an entertaining read - only to find that people are ripping off her work and belittling the amount of effort she has put in. 
Thank you!


Purchase your copy, here:










Saturday, 21 April 2012

THE GATES ON TOUR....


Title: THE GATES
Author: Rachael Wade
Source: ARC from the author
 Publish date: March 1st 2012.

The Gates On Tour!
Book 2 of The Resistance Trilogy, a paranormal fantasy romance series. Available 3/1 from AMAZON UK, AMAZON US & Barnes and Noble.





Song: What the Water Gave Me
Artist: Florence and the Machine
Tour Date: 4/21/12
Venue: The Amaranthian Windmill
Scene Snapshot: Camille steps outside of the windmill and is faced with a rude awakening. 
Anthem: 
And oh, poor Atlas
The world’s a beast of a burden
You’ve been holding on a long time
And all this longing
And the ships are left to rust
That’s what the water gave us

So lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones
Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow

Getting There is Half the Battle... 

Armed with more unsettling knowledge about Gavin Devereaux and her circle of friends, Camille Hart is faced with new adversities and lethal propositions when she returns to the Amaranth exile to carry out Gavin’s risky crusade. 

Realizing her journey through the bayou was only the beginning of her struggle to stay with Gavin, she finds that leaving her Louisiana home is the least of her worries. New evils await her on the other side, and as she and her friends press on with their mission, they are confronted with the reality that everything doesn't always go according to plan. 

As secrets unfold and alliances are formed and broken, only the strongest will survive and the power of love will be tested when a war between witches, humans, and vampires erupts into an all-out power struggle and all is on the verge of being lost.

Now for my review:


I hereby give this book 5 wings!

Now folks I know that some of you may have read my mini-review back in February when I finished the book. But I also know that there will be those that didn't. So if you are one of the ones that did, please bear with me if I seem to be going over the same things as I did back then.

Firstly, my cover-art magpie side tells me to address the cover for THE GATES. So, let's get to it.
The cover for this is slightly darker than that of AMARANTH. This has a less ethereal quality to it than Amaranth did. It's slightly more edgy.
I didn't understand the symbolism of either cover at first. It wasn't until I read the stroies I understood their covers. So for me, having read this, I now look at the cover with fresh eyes. It really appeals to me and I love the things that were chosen to depict this great story.

"She's gone on long enough about the cover" I hear you shout. Okay, I will get on with my review.

As with the cover, the story itself was slightly darker this time. Though just as alluring as Amaranth was. 
It was an action packed story that had me on the edge of my seat and staying awake late at night just because I was so captivated and couldn't stop turning the pages. 
THE GATES has a mixture of love, happiness and joy, sadness, loss and sorrow. For me, it is the perfect amount of all of those things. It's not too 'fairy-tale love, fingers down throat etc'. But it's also not too much the other way either. 

I love the whole Gavin and Camille relationship. They have a love that transcends everything. They may not have been together long but they are strong and battle ready. Which really is a good thing when you add the nasty little wretch Scarlet into the mix. I can't tell you who she is, or why I hate her. All I can say is well done Rachael. I hated Scarlet. I think she was added in like putting a cat amongst the pigeons. You'll never achieve a sense of equilibrium with Scarlet around. She was a minx and I despise her, but she was written well and the character fitted perfectly within he story. I hope we see more of her, but I also hope that one day Cam gets to tear her limb from limb. That would be a sight to behold! (hint hint Rach)

Her Majesty, Samira, is just as evil as she ever was. If not worse. We get to find out a secret she has kept from Gavin for many years. It reminded me just what a horrible woman she is. She brings a whole new meaning to the term cold-hearted *****!

The main bright points for me were the times when Gav and Cam were able to be alone and show each other that throughout anything and everything, their love can remain strong. It brings a new meaning to the phrase "Love Conquers All". 

This book is action packed. Full of twists and turns that shock not only the characters but the reader too. The tear flowed for me at just past the halfway point. I swore I would not cry but my eyes betrayed me. 
The phrase "It never rains, but it pours" springs to mind. There was never just one thing to get over, instead there were almost too many. I didn't think my heart could take any more of a beating. But just when I thought it couldn't take any more, the story was over and I was going to be okay after all.
I stayed up late into the night to finish this and found myself shattered and owed a big long sleep. I just couldn't put it down. Even when I knew I was tired and must go to bed, I still pushed myself beyond that. Such is my dedication to a good book? Yes. But also, such is my impatience to know what happened next!

I won't tell you more as I find my fingers are itching to run away with me and become too 'spoilery' and I know you would never forgive me for ruining it for you. All I can say is, I am really very happy that Rachael gave me an ARC. I am forever grateful to her. However, the one downside of having a book so early before its release, I will have to wait even linger for the next one!

I cannot wait for The Tragedy of Knowledge (book #3). Knowing Rachael, she will make it one hell of a kicker so that the trilogy goes out with a BANG!!

If you want to connect with Rachael, click her name at the top of the page for her Twitter account. Or alternatively, you can check out her blog and/or Facebook page

About The Author:

Residing in Orlando, Florida, Rachael Wade is the author of Amaranth, the first installment of the epic fantasy romance series, The Resistance Trilogy. She is a member of the FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal) Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and her work has been published in The Storyteller magazine and A Hudson View  International Poetry Digest. When she’s not writing, she’s busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to help stop animal cruelty.

And as if that wasn't enough for you, I was lucky enough that Rachael gave me an interview. I asked the questions I thought we'd all like answered....

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

NAME: Rachael Wade
PLACE OF BIRTH: Philadelphia
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: Orlando, FL USA
MARITAL STATUS: Married
CHILDREN? None
FAVOURITE SINGER/BAND: Florence and the Machine and Brandi Carlile
BEST HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Home!
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT? Paris, London, Berlin, Prague. All over Europe in general. I have a serious wanderlust problem and want to see it all.
FAVOURITE AUTHOR: Too many to name. Sylvia Plath is at the top of the list, though.
FAVOURITE BOOK: The Bell Jar, Bel Ami, No Country for Old Men, Fifty Shades of Grey, the Lux and Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout...crap. Just one? 
FAVOURITE QUOTES: 

1. "Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." -- Omar Khayyam
2. “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary, use words.” –Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (sources vary)
3. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Gandhi

Now the questions...

1) Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

Yes, since I was a kid I wanted to write and tell stories. I was obsessed with storytelling in films and song lyrics...just storytelling in general. But I tried a few different things first before I decided to pursue it, mainly because I didn’t realize it was a realistic option.

2) If you couldn't be an author, what would you be most likely to be?

If I weren’t writing novels, I’d like to be a screenwriter. I still want to write for films some day and am slowly working toward that goal. Otherwise, I’d work with animals. I’ve spent a lot of time working around marine mammals and would probably be involved with wildlife and environmental conservation in some way.

*What a woman! Marine mammals and conservation... You are SO cool*

3) Who are your writing influences?

Oh, boy. Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Flannery O’Connor, Guy Maupassant, E.L. James, and Jennifer Armentrout to name a few.

4) What's the first book you read and how old were you?

I remember it like yesterday. I read “Who Killed Mr. Boddy?”, a Clue book—yes, as in the board game. I was in love with that series and I was in 1st grade. I still have every single one of them.

*gigglesnorts* That just cracked me up!

5) What was the first thing you wrote yourself?

I grew up writing song lyrics. I’ve recorded a few demos and used to sing in coffee houses and bars. It was a way for me to combine my love for music and words. I think I was searching for a path to write during that time, and it gave me an outlet. I wrote a “screenplay” in 2nd grade. Something to do with a sea otter and it was along the lines of the movie “Free Willy.” Don’t ask, because I couldn’t tell you. All I know is I was obsessed with marine animals, even back then.

*A singer too? Gosh your talents really know no end*

6) Was the first thing you wrote also the first thing you published? If not, tell us what the first thing you published was.

Thank God, no. Haha. I didn’t decide to publish my novels until I earned traditional publication for my poetry. I was experimenting, researching traditional publishing and indie publishing, to decide which route I wanted to go. So my poetry was published in a few literary magazines first, and Amaranth is my first full-length novel in print.

*Oh. My. God. Endless list of talents. Seriously, someone kill me cos I'll never be this talented!*

7) How old were you when you first published a book?

I was twenty-five when Amaranth was published. 

8) What was your inspiration behind The Resistance Trilogy?

I was visiting Louisiana at the time when I decided to start writing the series, and I couldn’t help but be inspired by the surroundings. I visited all of the places in the book, such as Camille’s hometown and Café Des Amis, where the characters go on their initial dates. And the concept for the exile and the other realm had been brewing, so all of that spawned more inspiration as I began writing the first book. I’d been wanting to write a vampire romance series for a while, so being there put everything into motion.

9) What made you choose to write in the vampire genre? It must be hard knowing there are a few good ones to compete with? Or is it not that at all?

Oh, I think everyone is sick to death of vampires. Honestly, I’m looking forward to taking a break from paranormal myself here soon. And I really do get it. I knew it was going to be tough going into it. People will always find commonalities with other vampire fiction. Boy meets quiet, shy girl. Boy saves girl. Boy leaves girl. Boy is talk, dark, and handsome, and they fight insurmountable odds to be together. Boy’s eyes turn black...the list goes on and on. But each story is different and I write what makes me happy and what I enjoy. If some people enjoy it too, that’s awesome and I’m thrilled to hear it. If some hate it because they think it’s just like every other vampire romance, then they don’t have to read it. I think people will continue to use their “Twilight Filter” on every vampire romance they read. I think that’s a shame, but that’s just a part of writing in this genre, and I knew that going into it.

*coughs* I don't rate Twilight one teensy bit! Oops! I much prefer my vampire novels to have some real bite - I am in love with The Resistance Trilogy.

10) During the writing process, a lot of authors say that a character will pop into their head and beg to be written. Is that the case for you? 

For sure. My stuff is very character driven, so characters are my #1 focus and always will be. Sometimes you’ll get an idea for someone to enter a scene and that character’s personality is so strong, they end up running the show or taking the plot in a direction you never would have imagined. That didn’t happen with me in Amaranth, but it did with The Gates. The more time I spent with Samira, the more she developed and ended up inspiring the third installment. I didn’t see that coming, but now I can’t imagine the series without those developments.

11) Would you say you relate most to Camille or are you more like Audrey?

Camille for sure. I’m not as outgoing as Audrey, but I have her spunk. I’m a bit saucy—my husband can attest to that!—so I can relate to her in that way more.

12) What was it that made you choose to touch on the subject of abuse? I can honestly say that it was something close to home for me - did you hope it would touch readers in the way that it did me?

It was certainly deliberate, but I didn’t expect to hear that from so many readers. Looking back, had I known it would’ve resonated with some that strongly, I would’ve delved farther into it because it is a very personal issue. At the time, it wasn’t the focal point of the story, though. I’ve never been physically abused, but I have experienced other forms of abuse, and domestic violence is very close to home. My mom was almost killed because of it, so I’m very familiar with the victim mentality and the progression of abusive relationships, and familiar with dysfunctional homes in general. It’s why I prefer to write realistic, gritty stories with flawed characters. I can relate to flawed characters and can’t imagine writing any other way.

13) How long did it take to come up with the basic premise of each book and the structure of the trilogy?

As a whole, it took a little over two years to pull the entire concept together. But the 2nd and 3rd books developed as I wrote the 1st. I had a general idea of how the trilogy would end, knew the basic storyline, but it just kind of evolved over time.

14) Was it always meant to be a trilogy?

Yes. I knew it was going to be a series as soon as I began Amaranth.

15) Was there ever anything you cut out that you now wish you had left in or are there no regrets?

No regrets haha. Everything I cut needed to go. It wasn’t advancing the plot in any way, so it was like trimming the fat. 

16) Is there anything you are willing to share with your readers about the future, either relationship wise for Gavin and Camille or for the final book? (non-spoilery, of course)!

Don’t worry, I hate spoilers! I guess I can say that Gavin and Camille will become even more of a team in book 3, and that it will make them stronger, but it will also be a real obstacle for them. 

17) I know that you have another book coming out this year, PRESERVATION, can you tell us a little about it?

Sure. Preservation is a realistic fiction/contemporary romance revolving around a 20-something aspiring writer and her college professor. They both tend to sabotage their relationships for different reasons, but they’re both essentially driven by fear. Kate’s very strong-willed and Ryan has a playboy reputation on campus, so when the two get together, things get kind of bumpy. It releases May 25th on ebook and in print. 

18) Is PRESERVATION a stand-alone novel or part of a series?

As far as I know, it will be a standalone.

19) Do you have any plans for what to write once The Resistance Trilogy is over?

I do have a few other novels in the works, including a novella addition to the Resistance Trilogy, which will be from some of the other characters’ POVs, but I’m not sure what I’ll release first when the trilogy is over.

*This please me no end! When it's over, I know I won't want it to be the end so I am pleased to hear about a novella as I am sure many people out there will be!!* 

20) Do you think you would ever write another vampire book or are you moving on to pastures new?

My heart belongs to paranormal romance and I’m a sucker for vampire lore, so I don’t doubt that I’ll write about vampires again. I do have plans for a post-apocalyptic series that might or might not involve vamps *wink wink*, so we’ll see...

*Post-apocalyptic? Three cheers!! Can't wait to hear more about that!*

Thank you Rachael for a truly great interview. So many interesting new things I have found out! Yay :D

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post folks! I know it was a lot of info to ingest but I just had to get those questions in!!

If you haven't already seen it, check out the cover for the final book in The Resistance Trilogy, here




Friday, 20 April 2012

WIN Bryn's necklace from DEAD RADIANCE!!


Now folks, I have a stunning giveaway for you today. It's brought to you by none other than the wonderful author T.G Ayer - author of DEAD RADIANCE.


Tee wanted to thank her fans by giving you a chance to win a beautiful necklace from the book. So without further ado....

Do you want to win a replica of the Valkyrie Brynhildr’s necklace-
 a piece of the famed Brisingamen, prized necklace of the Goddess Freya? 



The necklace in question?...

*ta-da*



How to participate

STEP 1

STEP 2
Post a Photograph of yourself with your copy of DEAD RADIANCE either e-Book or paperback and tag Tee's author page so it shows up in her feed/photos.

or if you don’t have FB

Post a link to your pic in the comment section below, along with your email address for prize notification.

Feel free to follow T.G Ayer on Twitter to keep up with the results.

*Competition ends 9th May 2012*

Winners chosen using Random.org

*************

Note from Gothic Angel: Folks if you don't have a copy of DEAD RADIANCE already, firstly I ask "why not?" and secondly, if you know someone who does and would be interested in this beautiful prize, PLEASE tell them about this giveaway. Also, if I can ask you to tweet a link to this post to keep it circulating until the closing date... That would be awesome of you! Thank you so much, Y'all are my rock stars!


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sherlyn Finally Received ILLUMINATE...

Now you may remember I had a giveaway for ILLUMINATE by Aimee Agresti. The lucky winner of that giveaway was Sherlyn Goh. 
I ordered her copy from Amazon US on the day she won and had it shipped to her all the way in Singapore. 
I asked her to send me a picture of her with it when she got it. She received it today and sent me this gorgeous photo:



Isn't she just the sweetest?

She also got signed swag, here's the photo:



to Sherlyn for winning and
for entering and for the pictures! 

I hope you will return for many more giveaways yet to be held!! :0)




Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Spine Damage... A Sign Of A Loved Book or Of Not Caring Enough About Your Books?

Now personally, I like my books in pristine condition. The less spine damage the better... 

...I like to look after my books and to me, keeping them in good condition is a sign of my love...

...But for some people, a broken spine and dog-eared pages are the sign that a book is loved. It shows that they are read... I must admit, I do not understand this...!







You may ask what brought this post about, I'll tell you. A friend of mine saw my books recently and commented that they all looked unread. She remarked that they were as pristine as if they had only just been bought. I told her that for me, that is a compliment.
She said that she must admit all her spines are broken and said that to her, that was a sign she loves them because it shows she's read them over and over.

I will admit, when I read a book, I have it open only enough that I can see the words on the page. I make a conscious effort not to exert any pressure so that I leave no marks behind.


*Plus* I only buy NEW books unless it's a hardback. I can cope with a used hardback. But paperback? No way! I can't guarantee the quality I'm getting so would rather pay more for new.


As for lending books to people? No way jose!! Why not? Well I can't vouch for how other people look after their books, so I don't lend them out. Simple! :) 

...So it is with this in mind that I am asking you for your honest opinion. Is spine damage a sign of a loved book, or is it a sign of caring little about them?


I am honestly interested in what you guys think and would be grateful if you would comment below and tell us your opinion and why...











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